After ten days of staring at turquoise waters with white sand between my toes, it was hard to walk through the door of our home.
Because the changes that we were slowly preparing for were now so very close.
A new place to call home, a new baby on the way, a new school for our daughters.
Which meant there was a long to-do list waiting on us.
With packing as the first and foremost.
As much as I was excited, I was also feeling a bit terrified.
Anxiety was creeping in as I pulled the luggage behind me and set it near the couch.
The girls wasted no time in running to their room and becoming engrossed with their Barbie house.
Hubs was already taking stuff out of his suitcase.
And I was simply telling myself to not freak out.
. . . . . . .
At church, a friend shares how she was having an off day.
Wondering if there was anyone that cared, anyone that was praying for her.
In the midst of these emotions, her phone rang.
It was her dad.
Just randomly calling to see how she’s doing.
He tells her that he loves her, that he’s always praying for her.
And she’s sees right there and then what God is trying to say to her.
How there is no need to question whether anyone cares, no need to feel alone.
Because she’s got Him, her heavenly daddy who loves beyond all comprehension and is always working on her behalf.
As I listen to her story, I feel all weepy.
Maybe it’s the darn hormones raging all over the place.
Or maybe I wholeheartedly understand where she is coming from.
There are mentors and counselors and close friends.
Our natural inclination is to turn to them.
We vent, we cry on their shoulder, we pour out the mess that makes us feel so heavy and weary.
It’s all valuable – a blessing to have this listening ear.
But I have come to see and understand that they can’t do what God can do.
He has the ability to make something out of my nothing.
He takes my every word as a precious seed and plants it into the rich soil of His endless possibilities.
Choosing Him first brings in comfort like no other.
Because He doesn’t just listen.
He gets straight to work. He makes things happen.
. . . . .
Of course, we are forgetful creatures.
We read about the Israelites in the Old Testament and gawk at their constant worry and despair.
They witnessed miracles upon miracles of God providing, God rescuing, and still the slightest discomfort had them acting like they were doomed, like they had been forsaken.
And so we shake our heads in disbelief and call them foolish.
We tell ourselves that if we had witnessed the Red Sea separating before our very eyes, then we would never doubt.
Instead, we would believe and believe and believe no matter what came against us.
But let’s face the truth.
We really aren’t any different.
Nothing has changed under the sun.
Even though God has shown Himself in every situation I have ever walked through, I still have moments where I wonder if He’s genuinely there when another storm rolls in.
And it’s got nothing to do with whether I have enough faith.
Because it’s not about faith.
It’s about the spirit of unbelief.
It doesn’t sleep and will sneak up repeatedly.
The key is what you do when it does come.
. . . . . . .
A few months ago I found myself thinking about Paul in the book of Acts.
Each morning I would wake up with this specific scripture on my mind.
And I knew God was trying to tell me something.
Paul and Silas were both beaten with rods and thrown into prison.
Wounded and in serious pain, they had every right to feel anguish.
But they chose to glorify the Almighty.
They refused to believe He was far from them and made the conscious decision to sing praises to His name and it was their praise that broke the prison gates.
I had read and heard the story countless times before and only now was it seriously blowing me away.
Because here was my answer.
In moments of desperation, of unbelief, of feeling like there is no miracle in sight, I needed to worship Him, I needed to delight in Him, I needed to lift His name up in adoration.
It all sounds so simple, so textbook, like “duh” that is exactly what a believer should be doing, no big surprise there, I’m preaching to the choir, etc.
However, let’s be real.
How many of us actually feel like praising Jesus when all hell breaks loose?
. . . . . . .
At our new place, there is chaos with all the boxes.
I force myself to sort through the dishes and the clothes and all the little knick knacks and feel a heaviness dragging me down.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know it’s unbelief.
I feel it pushing me into a corner.
And I’m just too overwhelmed with grief to rise above it.
Because it hurts.
This waiting game, waiting for answers to countless prayer – it hurts.
And the girls are whining about everything.
And dinner needs to be made.
And husband walks through the door with the weight of hopelessness upon his shoulders.
And there are explosions in Israel and people dying in Ukraine and planes crashing.
And I look at myself in the mirror and completely lose it.
I know I need to pray, to worship, to press in harder, to do what Paul and Silas did.
Yet I can’t.
My mouth feels like a ton of bricks and it reminds me of the apostles walking with Jesus.
He asked them to stay awake, to intercede, He knew His time had come to be taken captive and even though they didn’t really understand what He meant, they felt something too, a heaviness inside them, a grief so exhausting that they couldn’t bring themselves to utter a single word.
Instead, they fell asleep.
And it’s what I wanted to do as well.
I wanted to hide under my covers and numb all that was in me with sleep.
However, the Holy Spirit was nudging me to follow Christ’s example.
He was struck with deep anguish and it was painful.
But He didn’t let it consume Him.
There, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed with intensity beyond comprehension.
He pressed in so hard that His body sweat drops of blood.
. . . . . . . .
In the morning, I get up and think about how our faith goes beyond “feelings”.
How it’s about having the discipline to always worship, to always rejoice even though everything around us tells us we have no reason to do so.
It’s a choice we have to make every single day.
“Sing praises to Him, rejoice in Him,” the spirit beckons.
And I don’t always want to.
As my flesh groans, I turn on some music and reach for my prayer journal and start looking through all the promises God has spoken in the last few years and listen to Nicole Binion sing about how when He draws near, all fear is swept away, distractions disappear, how she is not moving, she is here waiting on Him, how He is so good, always good and she is standing on His promise and the lyrics engulf me like a tidal wave.
Life can be too much sometimes and it feels like my small voice gets lost in the rubble of this world, it feels like He is far from me.
But we all know that’s foolishness.
Because the moment I cry out to Him, He bends his ear to me as if I am the only one and gets straight to work.
No one else can do that.
No one . . . . . . .