Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
This sucks. I mean really sucks. I slightly cringe using that word – sucks – because it was forbidden to leave my mouth growing up even if whispered under my breath. But this, this is a whole new level of suck. And it’s selfish. Yep. Selfish. That’s me right now, and I feel bad about it. I’m not proud of the anxiety I’ve allowed back into my chest after several years of having it under control. I’m not proud of the anger I let boil up inside of me over and over until it came out in words shooting from my mouth like flaming daggers as one thing after another stacked up to this level of suck.
Ten days. Just ten days. That’s all that stood between us and the first of two life-changing adventures we had plans for this year when the president declared a National State of Emergency due to COVID-19. Stupid virus.
The excitement that had been building and building like a balloon being filled and ready to float off into the air was turned into turmoil in our stomachs as we felt our dreams begin to deflate within us. We went from being ready for the best year of our lives to a nightmare wishing someone would pinch and wake us up from. Normally we would have a couple weeks worth of food in our cabinets and meat in our freezer, but we were preparing to leave. So we had been eating what was left and not buying more. We were prepared for an adventure not a quarantine. Not mass panic as many Americans became hoarders overnight. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer disappeared as if part of a magician’s act across a national stage.
We were unsure of our next step. Do we stay? Do we really have any other option? Other states are worse than ours. As a nation we’re not supposed to go anywhere that isn’t necessary right now.
I cussed. I cried. I threw a fit like a selfish toddler. I argued and pleaded with God.
Why? Why this year? Why after telling me not to be anxious and putting me at peace with our plans? Why after all the scriptures and messages of faith put in front of me these last few weeks are our dreams that we’ve saved so earnestly for suddenly fading away?
Can’t you fix this God? Can’t you save us from this mess? Can’t you just give us a break? Why is this happening to us right now?
Question after selfish question…directing my anxiety, uncertainty, heartache, and anger towards God.
Then my best friend, who knows about our adventures, checked in with me. I told her my fears and shamefully confessed my wavering faith, and she reminded me that even heroes in the Bible struggled with their faith.
That’s what trials are for. I don’t know how strong my faith is until it is tested. I can’t improve if I’m not challenged.
Faith is believing even when you can’t see. I had faith that we could do this adventure until other things started closing in around us. As I saw walls being placed in front of our dreams I lost sight, and I forgot. I forgot that I don’t have to see what’s ahead in order to have faith. I forgot the very essence of faith – choosing to trust no matter how bleak things seem. I forgot the peace that comes with it – the peace of knowing God is still working. He knows his plans for me, for us. We may not see our dreams come true right now. If that’s the case, it’ll be okay.
This situation is so much bigger than us. This suck isn’t just affecting us. This sucks for our family, our neighbors, our friends, our nation and most of the world.
I’m well aware of how selfish it is for me to complain about our dreams being put on hold, but I remember a therapist telling me after the devastation of our 2011 tornado that it’s okay to mourn for my own situation. It’s okay to be sad for our own loss even if someone else’s loss is greater.
It’s not okay to just shut down though, and it’s not okay to take from others, especially when we are all struggling.
We are still on this Earth to love one another.
I’m done wallowing in the suck.
It’s time to put my faith into action. It’s time to smile, to laugh, and to encourage others even if I’m still hurting.
Chin up, Ash. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.

xoxo

-Me

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6 NIV

“But you, Lord , are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Psalms 3:3 NIV

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NIV

“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
James 1:3 NIV

Backing Prayer with Faith

Backing Prayer with Faith

Do you back your prayer with faith?

When you pray, do you trust God for the answer or the healing? Do you continue on in peace knowing that He’s working everything to your good, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it? Or, do you pray and continue to worry, stress, and complain that nothing is getting better?

Are you wondering where your healing is? Are you wondering if it’s even possible for the situation your praying over to be resolved?

It’s time to pray with faith. Here is some encouragement on how to do so and helpful scriptures to remember.

Pray without doubting

Whether we want to admit it or not, sometimes we pray while doubting. When a situation looks impossible to fix, it’s easy to doubt that it’ll get worked out. When we spend years praying for healing without seeing results, we doubt that the healing will happen. We start to question ourselves and God. What am I doing wrong? I must be doing something wrong. God, do you hear me? Am I supposed to bear this forever? Maybe I’m not meant to be healed.

Friends, when we pray, we need to believe, really believe, that the situation will work out or that the healing is going to happen.

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Let Go of Worrying

We tend to also tack on worry to our doubts. What if the situation gets worse? What if it can’t be fixed? What am I going to do? How can I get through this? What if I’m never healed?

Does worrying ever make a situation better? No.

Does worrying make you feel better? No.

Anxiety is on the rise in today’s society. We spend too much time worrying, even about little things. Let’s stop giving in to worry and have faith it will be okay. The Bible tells us not to be anxious.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Know that Everything is Possible

It’s time to stop doubting, stop worrying, and know that everything is possible when we pray. Everything.

It doesn’t matter how messed up things look. It doesn’t matter what the doctors say. It doesn’t matter how long you have been fighting this battle. Our God is willing and able to work all things together for our good.

We may not see how. We may not know when. That’s okay. It’s our job to have faith. Believe that everything is possible.

“…Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23

Start praying with faith!

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be faith-filled!

xoxo

Ash

Mark 9:23

Faith – When the Miracle Does Not Happen

Faith – When the Miracle Does Not Happen

When a miracle doesn’t happen in our timing, it can be easy to feel let down. My miracle didn’t happen. Not only did it not happen, but the area in which I was praying for a miracle actually got worse.

When that happened, my reaction was, “Really, God? Are you even there?”

I know. I know. I can hear your gasps. I can’t believe I said those words, or even thought them. Trust me. I know that I know better than that. I said them though, and then I quickly recanted. I apologized to God for my moment of weakness caused by pain and confusion.

I know that God is there. I know that He is working on it. My struggle is with the “how” and “when.” The thing is…if we knew how and when the miracle, blessing, or prayer would happen, then we would not need faith. Ahh…FAITH.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Certain of what? “Of what we do NOT see.”

I cannot see all that God is doing to work on this area. I cannot see when the miracle will happen. Yet I have faith. I have faith that it will be done in His way and in His timing.

After pulling that verse from Hebrews 11, I read the rest of the chapter. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read this chapter also. It made me realize that what I am being asked to do in faith is nowhere near as extreme as those mentioned in this chapter.

For example, verse 17: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son.”

Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. I look at what I am sacrificing and questioning when I don’t see results, and I realize how little is being asked of me compared to Abraham, or Moses, or Rahab.

Oh ME of little faith!!!

I need to make some changes in my life that I am not exactly thrilled about. Nevertheless, these changed need to be made, and I need to do them in faith, without fear of the future.

A verse was put in front of me twice this week that I really needed to see. It hit me the first time. So when I saw it again, I really clung to it. I printed it, and put it on the wall on my side of the bedroom.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

I have been repeating this verse to myself. I am clothed with strength and dignity. I laugh without fear of the future.

My miracle may not have happened, but…

I am strong. I am worthy. I can laugh.

I have faith in the one who holds my future.

Have faith friends!

Be brave!

xoxo

-Ash

 

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