AgapeLady’s Blog

February 26, 2009

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Filed under: Encouragement,Religion,Struggle,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 5:40 AM

Well, yesterday was one of them for me. On Monday, I took my husband to the doctor for a procedure and it was quite difficult for him (and me). When I went into work, I had an unpleasant situation crop up. I also discovered I have osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. And that’s only a few of the things going on that seemed to accumulate and overwhelm me (can I get a witness for my pity party?).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m SO thankful the osteopenia was caught early and that I can take measures to rebuild bone before there’s too much problem or before I break a bone badly. And I’m thankful my husband went through the procedure safely and appears to be feeling much better today. And I really am grateful for a job in a time when finding a job is difficult (or impossible) for some. I even enjoy my coworkers… but as problems accumulated… I began feeling overwhelmed with a capital “O.”

After getting ready to send out engraved invitations to my pity party and deciding no one else would come, I began looking for God’s encouragement… and there it was! God is soooo good to me!

I love the quote I read in one of my devotional calendars Bless Your Heart – “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not even what I hope to be. But by God’s grace and Christ’s love I am not what I was.” Can I hear an AMEN?! And then I read II Chronicles 20:15 “Do not be afraid or discouraged… for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Oh, what a relief cuz I was sure beginning to think it was mine! 🙂

Today, too, God was making sure I paid attention to His encouragement- my special verses in Isaiah were today’s devotional reading when I flipped the page this morning! Wow… it’s so nice to know God cares and is in control!

Are you having “one of those days”? If so, take it from me – having a pity party and crying may work for a moment, but it doesn’t seem to change a whole lot. In fact, it might even make you feel worse. Instead, consider your health – are you tired? hungry? feeling sick? If you are, address those needs pronto! If it’s not physical, but purely emotional, choose to look for the encouragement that exists for you… something special that God sends your way that is meant to uplift your spirits. It will be there. It may be just a little thing, but sometimes that’s all you need to hang on during a day like that. Also, don’t forget that calling on a sister or a brother in those down times is an important part of the process – get that prayer cover working! If you take positive action, you’ll soon find the clouds disappearing somewhat… maybe even enough to see the Son shine. 😉

Love & Blessings
AgapeLady

February 18, 2009

His Grace IS Sufficient

Filed under: Divorce,Encouragement,God's Love,Grace,Love,Rape,Religion,Struggle — agapelady @ 8:33 AM

I remember a lady who shared her testimony early in my faith… she shared of war experiences and how she was raped by a soldier. It floored me. Here was a woman who loved the Lord, who was brutalized in what many women believe is the worst manner and she was still praising God! Wow. I couldn’t imagine being that strong in my faith. And I am quite sure that on her own, she wasn’t. But God has a wonderful way of meeting us in our need – no matter what it is – and carrying us through… supernaturally buoyed by His love and strength.

Many years ago I was raped in college. I remember the horror, the shame, the fears, the sorrow, the guilt… all of the emotions that run through a woman’s heart.  And I remember a verse that came to mind: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:6)

Even as I began to walk through the valley of resuming life after the rape… as I sought the answers why… God comforted me. His grace was indeed sufficient. And my faith grew.

Many years later, I got married. To make the story short, I’ll just say it was turbulent. I sought counseling to weather the abusive storms but after 11 years, the marriage ended in divorce. God had not healed my marriage even though I’d begged him, even though I’d trusted Him… and I didn’t know what to do. I had two young sons (3 & 6) to raise. I remember thinking, “Will Your grace be sufficient, Lord? Will it?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure.

I asked many questions of God as to why again, but He simply answered with His love. And, yet again, He carried me through. After years of very little to no child support and raising two young men, He still carried me. Even today, in the midst of trials and struggles, His grace continues to be sufficient… the realization finally hit me: “My grace IS sufficient.” His grace is sufficient (present tense).

When I think about some of the things God has carried me through, I don’t see how I made it. That’s because if I look back and think about the past – it seems so miraculous, so overwhelming that I survived… and I know if not for the Lord, I wouldn’t have. When I first heard that woman share her story, I thought then that I could never go through anything like that. But dear friend… His grace IS sufficient. The verse doesn’t say “His grace WAS sufficient.” It doesn’t say “His grace WILL BE sufficient.” It says “His grace IS sufficient.” Present tense. Happening now.

Oh, dear one, I don’t know what God has carried you through. I don’t know what He has in store for you. But I do know this:  His grace is sufficient for whatever it is! That strength, all you need, is available at the time you need it. Not before. Not necessarily after. But DURING. Just ask, dear one, just ask. That’s not to say it will be “easy” – ask anyone who has been through struggle – but it does mean you will once again see the sunshine on the other side of that sorrow. Hang on, dear one, hang on!

You can expect this life to have some troubles – we were warned and told not to be discouraged (John 16:33). My Bible says “Take heart!” May I encourage you just a moment? May I share that I know His grace is there for you when you need it too? If you’re going through something now, it’s ready for the asking. If there’s something down the road, it will be ready then. If there’s something in your past, He can heal it. His love covers all and makes us whole.

My prayer for YOU reading this is that you will know His love. Not just in your head – but in your heart. I pray you will feel His love because that love is strong enough, wide enough, deep enough to carry you, to hold you tightly in the darkest of nights and to never, ever let you go.

Love and blessings,

AgapeLady


February 11, 2009

Encouraged to Walk Even in Pain

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Love,Religion — agapelady @ 12:57 AM

I’ve been thinking about a number of things I’d like to share with you, but I think one of the key things is my “life verse” (or in my case, verses!). I don’t know what others mean when they share that term, but what I mean is that God brings that verse to me whenever I need encouragement, whenever I have fears, whenever I need LIFE. These words impart – for me – the ability to carry on another day when there seems to be no other way that I can do it. And what’s even more amazing is that I see the words, not only in my daily Scripture reading, but via devotional calendars, friends’ memos and more. God has never failed to bring these words in Isaiah 43 to my attention when I most need them. What a great and wonderful, LOVING God He is!

 1 Family of Jacob, the Lord created you.
      People of Israel, he formed you.
   He says, “Do not be afraid.
      I will set you free.
   I will send for you by name.
      You belong to me.
 2 You will pass through deep waters.
      But I will be with you.
   You will pass through the rivers.
      But their waters will not sweep over you.
   You will walk through fire.
      But you will not be burned.
      The flames will not harm you.
 3 I am the Lord your God.
      I am the Holy One of Israel.
      I am the one who saves you.
   I will give up Egypt to set you free.
      I will give up Cush and Seba for you.
 4 You are priceless to me.
      I love you and honor you.
   So I will trade other people for you.
      I will give up other nations to save your lives.
 5 Do not be afraid. I am with you.

I have highlighted the words that mean the most to me. It’s these words that showed me God’s love not just in my head, but in my heart. What a huge distance that can be at times! By that, I mean that as God brought these words to my attention during difficult times, He showed me that He truly does love me and that I am precious in His sight… amazingly enough He cares about me enough to know me by NAME. I am not just a number or some person crying out to Him – He KNOWS me by name! As His words appear to me in some form or another every time I need them – they speak volumes to me personally. When I hear or read Isaiah during those difficult times it’s as if God is saying, “My precious, precious Child. I have not forgotten you. I know how very much you need to know you are loved today and I know just how to make sure that you do! I am giving you these special words to encourage YOU.” And the more He does it, the more loved I feel. It’s like the special look between two people who love each other and need no words to convey it. When I am hurting and those words appear, I see God giving me “that look” and I have to smile. I just have to!

I share these words with you not because I expect them to touch you in the same way as they touch me (although I hope they do!), but as an example of the many ways that our personal God can reach out to YOU in your pain. If you are hurting or going through a dark time, trust Him. Seek His special words of comfort for you – whatever they may be. I assure you, if you look – you WILL find them. How do I know? Because He loves you.

May you always FEEL His love (and mine!),

Love & blessings,

AgapeLady

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