You Hold My World in Your Hands

Sitting in our high school chapel last week the words echoed over the speakers…”You hold my world in your hands”.  It’s from the song Healer.  This song has meant so much to me over the years through Payton’s bout with salmonella poisoning at 5 months old to my benign tumor to Kaden’s open heart surgery at 2.5 months old.  I have believed God for healing and have watched him work many miracles.  I have also seen God choose to answer those prayers in different ways as loved ones went to be with Him and were ultimately healed and made perfect.

Last week this song meant something completely different.  When I read this one sentence “You hold my world in your hands” I think of the phrase “my world.”  What is my world?

My world is my comfort.  It is my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, my worship.  It is things that I put a lot of weight in.  It is what I hold dear to my heart.  It is what would shake me a little if it didn’t exist anymore.  It is what I feel like I have to grip with tightly closed hands not willing to let go.

And then I read the whole sentence “You hold my world in your hands”.  You being God.  My God, my Sovereign God, creator of the universe, holds THE world in his hands.  You know that song.  “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”  And I can grasp that.  He keeps everything in order.  He is God.  He is in control.  But he holds MY world?  That phrase went into the depths of my heart last Wednesday.

I don’t have to hold so tightly to what God has given me because it is His.  I am simply a steward of all the things I hold so dearly.  They do not belong to me.  They belong to Him.  But He loves me and He lets me believe these are mine.  That this is MY little world.  And He lovingly holds MY WORLD in his hands.  When my baby boy goes through a complicated heart surgery that could claim his life, He holds my world in his hands.  When friends turn away from me because of what I choose to live, He holds my world in his hands.  When my loved ones pass away, when my little girl gets her feelings hurt by another child, when I can’t see the forest for the trees, He holds my world in His hands.

And all of my little world is safe in His hands.

Darkness of the Mind

Have you ever battled your thoughts?

I’m not good enough.  I can’t lose weight.  I am a failure.  I am a bad mom, wife, follower of Christ.  I can’t get my act together.  I am fearful.  I am too much to handle.  I am not equipped.  No one understands or cares to understand.  I am lonely.  I am not loved.

You take things personally and think others are against you.

Those thoughts caused a depression in me.  I wanted to seclude myself, but with the nature of our life and to keep up “appearances”, I knew that was impossible.  So I struggled internally for months.  I didn’t know how to keep up with this life God had given me, and not just activities, but the right attitude.

You know the truth, but your mind is so clouded that you can’t grasp the truth.  My thoughts were causing me to physically be downcast.  I bore such a heaviness.  I met with a couple of “elders in the faith” to get encouragement.  Through that God revealed Himself to me in such a clear way.

I learned that in order to fight this war against a very real enemy, we must start in our mind.  Satan cannot get to me because I belong to the Father.  But what he can do is cause me to become my own enemy in the way that I think.

First, I had to clear out my mind.  I talked through what I could with two godly people who directed me to the word of God, and then I journaled what did not need to be shared, things that I did not want to turn to gossip.  As I laid these things before the Lord by talking and writing, I realized that I was emptying my mind of all the garbage I had let in.  The unbelievable thing is that I didn’t allow those thoughts in with a welcomed spirit.  It was one thought that grew into another, or one word spoken that I took hold of and didn’t lay before the Father.

Second, I had to get alone with God.  I had to let him speak life back into me.  I saturated myself in His word.  Oh, I had been in the word, but I could not get around the cloudiness, which is why that first step was so vital for me.  I began to meditate on what He said about me.  And when negative thoughts or words would come my way, I would just not own them.  At times it took me saying out loud, “No, Satan.  That is not the truth of God’s word.  God’s word says this about me…”.

Third, I have to keep getting alone with God.  I have to keep laying thoughts and words spoken to me down at His feet.

     1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

    I have to keep reminding myself that I am His and He is for me.  No matter who comes against me, no matter who doesn’t like me, no matter what thoughts I struggle with about myself, He is for me.  He loves me.  I read it over and over again in His word.  I am relearning to take my thoughts captive, replacing lies with truth.

2 Corinthians 10:5  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

I realize more than ever how vital it is to not only study God’s word, but saturate yourself in it to use it in your prayer life.  What better way to talk with Him than to speak His word back to Him.  God is doing a new work in me.  And I pray for those of you who battle with this, that the Lord would do the same in you.

I made a decision to walk with the Lord when I was 14 years old, and felt like I should have had this taken care of, but Satan is crafty and we will never arrive.  God calls us to always grow and search and dig deeper after him.  This has been a tough season, and I am still learning to practice this, but I am thankful.  I am so thankful that God has used what Satan intended for harm, for good and for His glory.

If you are struggling with this right now, I want to encourage you to use these 3 steps.  They aren’t a fix all, and God may choose to work differently in you, but it’s a place to start when you don’t know where else to go.  Surround yourself with people who encourage you and lift you up.  Surround yourself with believers who are strong in the Lord and walk in the Spirit.  Surround yourself with people who will pray with you and walk with you in spirit and in truth.  And saturate yourself with God’s word.

Let me pray for you who are reading this and saying, “This is me!”

Abba Father,

Thank you for your goodness.  Thank you for your love for us.  You do not let us stay in darkness, you always provide a way out.  Thank you for allowing us to go through situations that bring us into closer relationship with you and make us more like you.  Abba, I pray for the one who will read this post and say, “This is me!”.  I speak life over them in Jesus name.  I come against any darkness that is inhabiting their mind and cast it out in Jesus name.  Lord, fill their mind with peace and truth.  Fill it with your word alone.  I pray that you would surround them with iron sharpeners, with those who can walk alongside them and be an encouragement.  Lord, don’t let them stay where they are, light the path that you have laid before them to walk out of that darkness.  Open their eyes and mind and heart to you and your word over them.

In Jesus’ Holy Name,

Amen.

Other scriptures to read – Ephesians 6, Galatians 5:1, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Philippians 1:6

Lord, Let Them Live!

   A year ago today Blaine and I sat in a hospital waiting room waiting (go figure) on x-ray results for Kaden’s heart. We would be told a game plan after our pediatric cardiologist reviewed them as well as his other tests.
   In a hospital waiting room across town sat my family…waiting on the results of my dad’s heart.
   As we were waiting we received a phone call that shook my little world. My dad’s heart was a lot worse than they thought. He would need to have a triple bypass.  Not only that but it was a miracle that he was still alive. He had been having heart attacks, sometimes several a day, not realizing that’s what it was. If he would have become sick and if my mom would not have dragged his butt to the hospital, he would not be with us today.
   I felt like the ground might cave in, but I had to get it together as I held a 2 and a 1/2 week old boy in my arms who was also fighting for his precious little life.
   We drove back to Dr. Kattash’s office where we received the news we were dreading. Kaden would need open heart surgery. And it was up to him when it would happen. Until then, we would have weekly cardiology appts, home health 3xs a week, and guaranteed hospital stays for medicine adjustments and feeding problems.
   In that moment, I just wanted heaven. I prayed for Jesus to come back so that 2 of the 3 men (and baby boy) thay mean more to me than anything could be healed. We got in the car and before I could process any of this news, Because He Lives came on over the speakers in my car. Blaine held my hand and I cried and tried to pull it together at the same time as we drove to see my daddy…

                                         …more to come.

image

Our baby boy waiting at the hospital.

I do not like the Superbowl. Pray with me.

Football.  Food.  Friends.  These are fun things especially in our south Louisiana culture.

But the Superbowl means something completely different to others.  It means slavery.  The Superbowl has become the largest human-trafficking event in the United States.

Women and children (mostly) will fight for their lives this weekend as the Superbowl approaches.  What will you do?  What can you do?

Short of going to the Superbowl itself (not exactly reasonable for most), there is action you can take!  Cover your Facebook news feed with awareness.  It may not seem like much but awareness DOES catch on!  Awareness spreads.  And soon people who will have the privilege of attending the game will know that this is something to watch for.

Google.  Research.  What are signs to look for?  It happens in our own towns more often than we think so even if you are not attending the Superbowl, it is good to be aware.

And the most important thing you can do is pray!  Pray and pray and pray.  Pray for protection.  Pray for the plans of these criminals to be stopped before action can take place.  Pray for police to take action.  Pray for the government to take action.  Pray for those being targeted that they will not fall into the trap and will steer clear of danger.

It seems so small.  Yet, it is the most powerful thing you can do.  Will you pray??

Now I am not saying it is wrong to have fun this Sunday.  Get together with friends and eat fun food and have a good time!  But please, pray.  And start sharing the facts.

A friend sticks closer than a brother

David and Jonathan’s friendship
1 Samuel 18
V. 1 …There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.
If you continue to read in your bible, you see David and Jonathan’s friendship in action.

My study bible says this about their friendship:
-it was one of the deepest and closest friendships recorded in the bible.
-they let nothing come between them, no career or family problems.
-they drew closer together when their friendship was tested.
-they remained friends to the end.

I’ve been so blessed to have a few friends like this in my short lifetime. They have stuck with me through thick and then. They have lifted my arms in times of trouble, and rejoiced with me in times of triumph. I adore them, and love(d) living life with them.

Some of them live away from me now and keeping up friendships in our busy world is hard, but those few friends whether far away or close by still remain a vital part of my life. I am so thankful for each of these ladies and the impact they have had on my life.

Who is your David or Jonathan? And even more so, are you a Jonathan or David in someone else’s life?

Be that friend that sticks by no matter what. So many treasures come out of that kind of committed friendship.

And the truth is, sometimes those friendships hurt. We hurt each other as humans, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on one another.
Jesus gives us a great example of friendship. He loves his disciples and his enemies even as they betray him and turn their back on him. Are we more worthy than God that we can’t love our friends even though they hurt us?

My prayer is that when the Father brings me a David or a Jonathan friend, I would remain humble and cherish their friendship. I would be the one to lift their arms in the battles and rejoice with them in the victories.

A personal story:
Over the past few years at Bethel, I have had several close friends. And they were wonderful friends. Friends who stuck by me and loved me and that I loved dearly, but I truly had a Jonathan friend after about a year of being friends. We sought the Lord together. We did ministry together. It was a friendship based on our commitment to the Lord and not much else. That is what held our friendship together. This special friend moved away and for 2 years I prayed for a friend like her to be in my space. It’s hard to have strong friendships 2 states away. I also prayed for her to move back. God honored my prayer, and she has moved back to Jennings. Our friendship has grown and we once again get to seek the Lord together and and do ministry. She is one of my very best friends and I thank the Lord for her constantly.

If you long for that kind of friendship, seek God’s face…and be patient. The Lord is gracious. And He wants to honor your heart’s desire when those desires line up with His Word.