God Sees Us When We Ugly Cry - Encouragement for Today - July 15, 2020

Teresa Swanstrom AndersonJuly 15, 2020

God Sees Us When We Ugly Cry
TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON

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“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) 

As I collapsed onto the cold kitchen floor, I began to cry — ugly cry. I was exhausted.

In what felt like a blink of an eye, I went from a mom of two busy, towheaded toddlers to a mom of four. It had been a few months since a beautiful but malnourished 5-month-old and bighearted 7-year-old came from Ethiopia to join our family. But today, the reality washed over me. I was drowning.

Lord, is this really what we’re supposed to be doing? You’ve got to give me more strength. I held tiny Imani tight to my chest, and my toddlers crawled onto my lap. A few feet away, Ezekiel stared at me with wide eyes, likely thinking that this lady had completely lost her mind.

Then, as tears dropped from my eyes, the Lord whispered a single word to my heart:
firstfruits.

I was bewildered. Firstfruits, Lord? What does that have to do with me?

In the Bible, firstfruits are offerings of the first and best crops to God. He didn’t want His people to give Him what was left over. God wanted the best of the best first.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t giving Him my firstfruits of anything. Instead, He got the leftovers of my time, energy and heart. Sure, I was going to Bible study every week, but if I’m being honest, it was more for the coffee and childcare than my relationship with Him. I was in survival mode; everything I did was sporadic and hurried.

Now, He beckoned me to put Him first. Above everything.

But I couldn’t get up any earlier in the morning. Imani wasn’t even close to sleeping through the night, and I was literally falling asleep at stop signs.

Gently, the Lord nudged me toward another part of my day: naptime. Would I spend the first moments of the kids’ naptime with Him? At first, I pushed back. But this is when I pick up the toys, wash the never-ending dishes, throw a load of laundry in. This is when I do all the things!

Yet even in the midst of my exhaustion, I clung to this hope: God didn’t want me to live burned-out and overwhelmed. He wanted more for me and our relationship. So, even though it felt counterintuitive, I began to offer Him firstfruits.

And you know what? I grew in my relationship with Him … and I still got everything done. More than everything, actually.

We see this principle in today’s key verse, Isaiah 40:31, “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” 

Moment by moment, Jesus gave me fresh strength and loved me back to life.

I’m not saying I never lost my temper. I can’t promise I never again cried in exhaustion. But life became manageable. I took the joy God was offering. I held onto patience and kindness. I was more loving.

Years later, after a teenage son and another baby daughter joined our family, the Lord asked me to give up my precious naptime moments to instead start waking up hours before my family. I’m not a morning person. I want to snuggle deeper into my covers when my alarm chimes. But each morning I make a conscious decision.

What’s more important … my relationship with my pillow or with my Jesus?

I’d rather pick Jesus every time.

Lord Jesus, You see me when I ugly cry. You understand my exhaustion, my ache. Thank You for whispering that You’re there, and You’ve never left. Help me to learn to put You first. Above everything. Love me back to life, Lord. Because I want You … so much more of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:23, “And there is more; it’s not just creation — all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete.” (VOICE)

Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
To spend intentional, rich time with God during your busy life, check out Teresa Swanstrom Anderson’s new Get Wisdom Bible Study SeriesWhatever season you’re in, learn to lead with Joshua, say yes in the darkness as you look at the Psalms and live for what really matters as you dig into Philippians.

CONNECT:
Keep up with Teresa on her blog and Instagram.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of one of the Get Wisdom Series books by Teresa Swanstrom Anderson. To celebrate their release, Teresa’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, July 20, 2020.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you find yourself drowning in busyness or exhaustion? What would it look like to offer God firstfruits in your life?


An unlikely mom of six (two biological and four adopted from Ethiopia), Teresa Swanstrom Anderson is a community builder, party and beauty lover, author, speaker and huge Bible nerd. She’s obsessed with helping overwhelmed women learn to slow down with Scripture, say yes to God, lead wherever they are and create a life they love. 

© 2020 by Teresa Swanstrom Anderson. All rights reserved.

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About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.