Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Are you friends with Doubt?

It’s mid-December and we are in the midst of celebrating “the most wonderful of the year.”  At least that’s what the popular Christmas song says.  But for many, it is not.  For some, it is a time of sadness, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, angst, and a season filled with doubt.

You long for companionship, family, a loved one who’s passed away, financial stability.  You long to be happy and filled with joy.  But whatever the reason, the sense of doubt is easier to cling to than the reality of what the Lord wants for you.  I have seen so many in my life make the apparent choice to be friends with doubt.  I have watched myself fall into the same trap that doubt puts forth ~ and here’s the scary part ~ doubt will never let you down.  What’s that?  Come again?

When you cling to doubt and it becomes a dear friend, all of the negativity that comes with the feelings and attitude of doubt, will always be there to make you feel insecure, insignificant, unseen, unknown, alienated, and desolate.  Those are the promises that doubt carries with it.

Literally, this is what doubt is summed up to mean: to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe; to distrust; to fear; be apprehensive about; to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief; a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something; fear; dread.”

What part of that very enlightening definition makes us want to have doubt as our friend?  As our companion? Lies of the enemy my friend ~lies of the enemy!

Jesus knew that we would struggle with doubt and wrote about it a handful of times in His Word.  James 1:5-8 says this about how to deal with doubt,Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” 

Our Lord is constantly available to us and hears us when we call out to Him.  It may not always feel like we are being listened to, mainly because sometimes we aren’t willing to hear the answer He’s giving us, but He DOES hear us.  Every time!

The words in James chapter 1 are an incredible encouragement to me in that God instructs us to ask God for wisdom (in all things) no matter what the situation and He will not criticize us and He will give that needed wisdom to us generously.

Did you catch the part in there about what we have to do in order to get that generous wisdom?  Or what we owe Him for giving us what we ask for?  Nope?  Well good!  Because there isn’t anything we can do to earn it ~ we simply have to have faith in our asking.  Oh, I know, bringing up faith!  It’s so hard sometimes to have faith!!  And that’s what satan is counting on ~ if we give up on faith, then we welcome in doubt…which brings on fear, sadness, depression, indecisiveness, instability, etc.

Just like I don’t have to tell my lungs to take in air to help me breathe, or tell my blood which veins to flow through, or instruct seeds to grow ~ my faith in God’s love and grace has to be something that is a part of me; a part of my heart, mind, body, and soul.  And when I feel that my faith is waning….that is something I can ask the Lord to refresh in me.

If a child ever came up to you and asked you to teach them to become wise and trusting, would you laugh and turn away?  Absolutely not!  You would do whatever you could in that very moment to come alongside that little one, and encourage them in what they’d asked.  God the Father does the very same thing.  He is so excited to meet you right where you are and give you what you need.

He can give you peace that passes understanding.

He can give you joy overflowing ~ Philippians 4:7

He can shower you with mercy ~ Deuteronomy 4:31

He can lift away the sorrows of your heart ~ Isaiah 35:10

He can save your soul ~ Galatians 2:20

He can restore in you a clean heart ~ Psalm 51:10

He can reconcile you back to relationship with Him ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

…All because you ask…

So now I ask YOU ~ do you want to be friends with doubt any longer?  Or do you want to live in the freedom and peace that comes from knowing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ?

During this season of never-ending parties, family get-togethers, bell ringers, and carolers ~ remember that these are not what our focus should be centered on.  Cast off the distractions and the doubts that the enemy is trying to foist upon you! He only goal is that you miss the peace, the mercy, the joy, the reconciliation, and the love of the Son of God who came to bring us life…true life and joy with not a seed of doubt in the mix! 🙂

And just for fun ~ take a quick listen to this beautiful song by Bethel Music ~

Blessings,

René

James 1 verses 5-6

{All verses are from http://www.biblegateway.com}

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 4:31, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Isaiah 35:10, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-19, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Christian Mentors, Moms, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Punctured Faith

I’ve watched enough medical drama’s to know that having a punctured lung is a really bad thing.  Okay, that’s a complete understatement I realize, but it’s true.  Our lung tissue is so delicate that God created a cage of ribs to protect it. But if something makes it through that cage and the lung is punctured, that person is in immediate and very real danger of dying.  You must seek medical attention quickly so that they can avert tragedy and begin the healing process.

According to WebMD, here’s a very basic answer as to how a lung can be injured: “There are two main types of lung injuries: direct and indirect.  Direct lung injuries are caused by infections, chemicals, and trauma that directly affect the lung. An indirect lung injury is caused by another condition elsewhere in the body. A lung injury can cause a collapsed lung or develop into acute respiratory distress syndrome — two potentially life-threatening conditions.”

Now that we have a medical definition of a punctured lung, I hope you are still with me here…let’s look at the similarities of that physical issue compared to have punctured faith.

Similarly, your faith can be punctured by indirect and direct injury.  A direct injury could look like losing a loved one, paying attention to deceitful thoughts from the enemy, or being hurt by someone we trusted (or even someone that we didn’t even know).  Indirectly, your faith could be punctured by a trauma that was in your past but was never dealt with. So when it rears its ugly head, you feel like you have “no idea where that came from” and you are forced to deal with the trauma many years (or decades) later.

As physical injury to our lungs creates a life-threatening condition, so too comes a threat to our spiritual well-being when our faith has been punctured.  Either way, we must act immediately!  Many times, it takes someone else taking a closer look at our life to see that we are about to succumb to the distress our body is going through, in order to save us.

Faith distress looks different for everyone.  Every single person on this planet is going through something.  No one is exempt from pain, grief, sadness, anger, desolation, vulnerability, sorrow, despair, fear, or basic concern.  BUT….we do have the Great Healer as our Heavenly Father, and He can take away those issues when we rest in Him.  Not an easy task at all, but with His strength and His assistance, we CAN do it!

What happens when we decide to hold onto those attitudes?  They are directly and indirectly poking holes in our faith which makes it harder to breathe in the life that God has for us.  There have only been a handful of times in my life that I felt so disheartened, so desperate, so distraught, that I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I felt like I was going to pass out or have a heart attack.  I felt like the world was spinning out of control and gravity was slipping out from under me.  I wanted the pain to stop.  I didn’t want to think.  I didn’t want to try and fix anything.  That is a frightening place to be and I thank the Lord for the people in my life who pulled me out of those potentially tragic situations.

Thankfully, our spiritual lungs are much tougher than our physical lungs.  I am grateful that in all of God’s goodness and grace, He is the patient Physician who attends us along our path to recovery.  He brings us friends to encourage us, His Holy Word to strengthen us, and many times uses seemingly random interactions with strangers to call out to us that He sees us.  His goal is to make us whole again ~ to bring restoration to our punctured faith.

Today, my heart is heavy with the sadness I feel for one of my daughters’ friends who lost their mother to a long illness this morning.  In the midst of her young adulthood, about to graduate from college, she has to now mourn the loss of her mom.  This is too young for her to mourn.  And at this time in her life?  So many things do not make sense to me, so this is EXACTLY when I have to trust that even in this, God has a mighty plan for this sweet young woman’s life.  I have to believe that He sees her and that He will carry her through the distress and extreme sadness of this time in her life.

It is God’s strength and being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit that we can sustain injuries, and come out healed on the other side.

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Remember, this isn’t a “rub the magic lamp and the genie will grant us our wishes” kind of deal.  The life that the Lord intends for us to live, is absolutely far greater than anything we can imagine.  Humbly we come through tragedy, with a fresh dependence on the Lord to give us what we need.

Ephesians 3:12 tells of the promise we have, “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”

Notice that it does not say that we have confidence in our self to come boldly to the throne of God in our time of need ~ or in our time of rest!  Our boldness come through our faith in the LORD.

How do we know that the Lord will hear us when we call on Him?  Or when He comes alongside us to repair that punctured faith? Right here in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 states the answer, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”  As believers, we are called a Child of God.  We have been adopted into the Royal Priesthood of our Heavenly Father.  He calls us His own and what He promises, He will fulfill.

Life is not exempt from hardship.  God’s Word promises that as well.  But He ALWAYS provides a way of escape!  A way out of the dark shadows of fear and doubt.

Isaiah 43:1b-3a, are a collection of promises that I absolutely have clung to in various times in my life.  These words from the Lord are so precious and I hope they offer you comfort today ~
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
What absolute joy these bring ~ can you feel it!?  Look at all those amazing promises!!  Come on now…stand up and say them out loud…
He has redeemed you!
He calls you by name!
You are His!
He will be with you!
You will not be overwhelmed!
You will not be consumed!
He is the Lord!
He is Holy!
He is your Savior!
Do not make fear and doubt your friend ~ they will disappoint you and suck the life out of you every single time!  Trust in the One whose ways are higher than ours, Who never lies, Who never cheats or steals, Who always has the best intentions and plans for you, Who always keeps His Word, and Who is always dependable.
When I was a young girl, I played soccer for several years.  When we practiced running the ball toward the goal net, our coach would tell us emphatically, “When in doubt, kick it out.”  Well, let me take a bit of liberty with this one and tell you, that as you run toward the goal of living your life to serve the Lord with all you’ve got….When in doubt, SHOUT it out!  Cry out to Him in your pain and grief, shout out praises to Him in the midst of chaos!  He will hear you and He will carry you the rest of the way.
If you feel that your faith has been punctured by the sharp disappointments and tragedies of life, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).
Psalm 16 verse 8
Blessings,René