Originally published Sunday, 15 October 2017.
One day, in the middle of heavy tears and feeling like a piece of my heart was collapsing, I got an email.
That email invited me to contribute to an upcoming book by a community of encouraging and hope-filled writers. 80 authors altogether, and every one of them beautiful with hearts I adore. Some are close friends. Their words inspire me. Their view of God encourages me.
I didn’t feel encouraging myself that day, more like my hope ran out. How could I contribute when I was in the midst of something pretty darn messy myself?
All the ups and downs of dreams collided in a mix of emotion. One seemed to be dying and another coming true. A conundrum of feelings played out concurrently and sometimes that’s overwhelming. Isn’t it?
Life is never linear, clean, or free of hard. Whether our unpleasant circumstances are crazy tough or momentarily frustrating, we all have them.
What if we paused a moment in the middle of them?
If we did, would we see Jesus as our source of hope, because He is Hope with us?
What if we knew that joy didn’t have to be forced in hard circumstances? We can feel the feelings, grieve our losses, and find comfort in the one who knows suffering well. Jesus.
The more I’ve experienced the power of Jesus’ presence with me, the more I’ve come to know what joy is like. Not a forced facade, but something rooted in love and adoration for my Savior. I don’t make it happen. It’s the result of going to Him when times are dang rough. It’s the fruit of faith that grows because of Him.
In faith, I remember…
Everyday messes are never outside the love and grace of Jesus.
God’s been hard at work in my life for some time, but these last few years have been exceptional. Both for the duration of challenging things and the freedom God brings. As I’ve despaired and persevered, felt stuck and walked free, I’ve come to be OK with the way life isn’t perfect.
I am comforted, strengthened, and loved by the One who is perfect. His perfection covers all my failings.
I’m a recovering perfectionist for sure. Dang. It catches up with me. I look back at things I say and do and cringe because I later realize a “better” way to do it. It stops me short at times. I’m tempted to quit and stop doing the work I know God’s called me to do.
He keeps pressing in and nudging my heart. When all I can do is ugly cry, He still listens.
When I got the email invitation to join these amazing writers, I felt unworthy, unwelcome, and unable.
Lies. All of them.
When the lies come, they must be fought. Lies come from the enemy of our souls and take us away from the healing, empowering love of our Father.
To win the battle of lies, we must find God’s truth present in our lives.
Nothing compares to digging into His Word directly. His Word is alive and penetrates our hearts in ways we cannot understand. It helps us know God more.
Even so, we are blessed to have devotional books that help us see a portion of scripture applied to real life. When we hear stories and insights from other people, we are given the gift of their perspective. That’s one of the things I love about this book by (in)Courage, A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You in Your Everyday Mess.
80 authors. 80 beautiful voices sharing different stories, different kinds of hard, and different messes. All of them pointing to Jesus.
One thing I remembered as I battled my own lies; we all have messes. It’s OK to admit we have them, and it’s a good, good thing to look for hope in the midst of them.
In the middle of my mess, I said yes.
Did you get your FREE 10 Day Sampler? Find out more about this fabulous devotional and all 80 authors here. Then watch the video in the link below for my review. I’d love to say Hi.
Ever find yourself struggling through life’s challenges? Maybe you’re tired and weary. Maybe fears and doubts threaten your ability to live well as a Christian.
I believe God has more peace, joy, and freedom than many of us come to know. I want this for us.
I also believe God is bigger and better than any of us can ever know. I want us to see more of Him daily.
Here we’ll journey through areas of emotional health, soul care, and spiritual growth in order to cultivate a life-well lived and a soul well-nourished. Not a perfect life, but a life reliant on the One who is perfect.
While it may not be easy, it’s worth it.
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