My oldest daughter recently came home for a two week visit carrying 53 pounds of clothes in her suitcase. She is a little girl (at 36 years of age) so THAT my friends is a lot of clothes! You should’ve seen us lugging her gigantic suitcase up the front stairs. Pushing, pulling, falling, laughing. When we finally got the suitcase to her room I sat on the bed and watched as she hung one pretty thing after another in the guest room closet. It was so good to have her home.
This got me to thinking about the spiritual clothes we wear. Especially me. Especially lately.
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts. Why? Because though once bound in chains Christ has set me free – FREE to live, to love, to dance, to sing, to be who God created me to be!
Much has been going on in our lives these past few months that I haven’t shared here in my hopefully upbeat blog space. A slew of medical tests for myself, heartbreak with family members, ageing in-laws across the country, and seeing my husband so ill that he was admitted to the hospital for 30 hours of testing symptoms that still haven’t fully resolved. Stress seems to be a constant lately.
Trials or disappointments in life can cause us to put on cloaks that we as Christ followers have no business wearing. Robes of fear, insecurity, worry, inadequacy, angst. I don’t know about you but sometimes the cloak becomes so heavy on my shoulders that it distracts me from hearing God speak and prevents me from being able to find the words to cry out to Him when I most need to.
This is where I found myself the other day when I picked up my Bible and my journal and cried out to God. His answer?
Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line mature, complete, and wanting nothing. If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. James 1: 2-4 The Voice
“Embrace hardships,” or as the KJV version reads, “Consider it pure joy, . . . whenever you face trials . . .” Really? I knew this passage was speaking to me and to the discouragement, worry, and pure overwhelmedness (spell check tells me this is not a word but I like it) I was feeling.
Right then and there I knew that I had to surrender, ask God to forgive me for picking up and putting on the dark cloak of worry and anxiousness that was weighing heavy upon my shoulders. I had to tell Him how sorry I was for not trusting Him when I know, that I know, that I KNOW He holds the future and He cares deeply about every detail of my life. I agreed to let go and trust Him with the thoughts and feelings that consumed me.
He met me right where I was as the dark robe of the enemy fell away and His mantle of peace covered me. Click To Tweet I don’t have full joy in the trial yet but neither do I have the anxiety. Just for today I can say with confidence that I trust Him completely. No matter what is going on in and around me I know that He is doing a new thing and I’m excited to see what He has in store as I step forward with boldness onto the path He is clearing before me.
Do you wear the weight of the world upon your shoulders? Are you trying to control circumstances to no avail? Do you feel depressed or anxious? If you have given your life over to Jesus He loves you and He will walk with you through the hardships, feeling every hurt right along with you. He will grant to you all that you need for the battle as He “gives lavishly” to those He calls His own. If you haven’t yet accepted Jesus as your Savior He is waiting to lift off those garments of insecurity, sadness, or fear of the future and clothe you in perfect peace.
[He will] provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isa 61:-2-4 NIV
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isa 61:10 NIV
I am reading a book right now called Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson. She writes from a doctor’s personal perspective about depression. While this book is written for those who are depressed or have people they care about who are suffering depression it has also helped me to stave off the heaviness I feel as I face some of my fiercest spiritual battles in years. Dr. Michelle’s book releases on August 16th and I will be sharing a complete review with you soon. Right now though, you can pre-order the book and receive a free gift by going to Dr. Michelle’s website.
God’s richest blessings to you sweet friends,
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