In Need of More ~ A guest post by Lindsey Gibson

Frantically, I dig through my purse looking for lunch money I had forgotten to give. Impatiently I fuss,”Who put all of this in here?”  “Why can’t you remind me sooner? “ “I’m sick of this! I can’t do this! You’ll just have to go without,” as the contents of my purse are tossed everywhere. Mind you, all of this taking place in the school drop off area, while cars wait behind us. They, my children, have no other choice but to exit. The door slammed shut, and the example of love and patience departed as well. Frustrated, I grit my teeth and proclaim, “I cannot do this! I cannot do this, anymore! I hate my stupid brain, why can’t I get it together?” I look down at the heaped mess in the seat and scan evidence of an apparent struggle, while the hot darts of defeat are set and ready to fire. I blew it, again!

Fear and heaviness sink on my shoulders as changes swirl around our family, and the simple tasks seem huge in the midst of the uncomfortable stretching place we are wading. With resolve, I come to terms, once again, that I DO NOT have it together. It’s obvious that achieving whatever picture I’ve painted of what “together” looks like is forever out of reach.

Lately, it takes all energy to get out of the house in the morning, and one setback can set the mood for the rest of the ride.

I sent my kids to school without money to eat. Check.

I let them see me frantic and frustrated. Check.

I mumble, “I’m, obviously, in need of more…”Sleep? Medication? Quiet Time? People to do more?

With defeat, I pray…

“Lord, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I lost it. I want to have it together, but the more I try, the more it crumbles. I want to be a good wife and mother. I want to be all you want me to be. Surely, you won’t fulfill all in our lives, if handling such minimal tasks like facing the pressure of morning mother hood and car line in such a horrible way."

I confess, I. AM NEEDY!......I mean, the disgustingly and clingy needy….For more of HIM!

As I prayed and pondered a calm assurance from the Holy Spirit flooded my frustrated  and fearful heart. With a gentle reminder, in the way he does, I realized that I am, undoubtedly, in need of more…..GRACE.

What is it? How do I get it?

Hebrews 4:16 (NASB), tells us,"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." At all times, we are welcomed and encouraged by right and privilege to boldly cry out, openly and without fear, to our Heavenly Father. YES, he is God! YES, he is all-knowing and powerful, but his ear turns to the cry of his sons and daughters.

It was much harder before the cross, but through Jesus, it is, according to, Colossians 1:21-22, "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His (Jesus) fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him(God the Father) holy and blameless and beyond reproach." Furthermore, Hebrews 10:19 (NASB) tells us, "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…"

Out of mercy, he lowers the kindness rope to rescue us out of our miserable and muddied mess, to bathe us in his grace, which is joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, love and favor. In other words, he loves us despite our mud pie making ways. Gosh, we are such Daddy’s girls, aren’t we? I mean, being adored despite thick sludge is quite amazing, and as we shower in his grace, presence, and word, we are strengthened and refreshed. We, then, can move forward in faith and knowledge, therefore, gain the ability to fulfill our purpose by his design.

As the realization pricked my overwhelmed heart, I began to exhale. I don’t have to do it alone and everything I need is free for the taking, My first step is to ask ,with all assurance that what I lack is made abundant and available out of pure love, and he gladly takes it from there.

The move of surrender is a mighty one!  Wow! Why do we make it so hard? Our wish may be to please him with our efforts, actions, and performance, but truly the greatest step is one of surrender.

He wont take what we still hold, but gladly accepts what we give. 

 

Lindsey's blog can be found here. She is a Jesus Lovin', Vintage Treasure Huntin',Turquoise Adorin', Tennessee girl! If you spend any time on her website, you'll find yourself wanting to buy all her dresses (I'm kinda jealous of her wardrobe, not gonna lie!) Please take a moment and drop by it! Her passion is to teach, write, and speak into the lives of women the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ, and ignite a passion for God's word within their hearts. She is a wife, mother, and nurse. Lindsey, thank you for your heart of flesh and sharing with me and my readers today! ~B

Overcoming Fear ~ A guest post by Hilary Cobb

As a counselor, I often work with people who are fearful. Anxiety is prevalent in our culture.We live in difficult and scary times. Mass shootings, cancer in everyone from children to adults, crime. Even in our day-to-day lives, we struggle with fear. Fear of rejection, fear of financial insecurity, fear of being “not good enough,” fear of being hurt by those we love. Fear of not having the perfect home or children, or being judged by others.

 It is easy to say (somewhat callously) to others, “well, just don’t worry about it. God’s got this.” There have been many times in my life where I’ve been anxious or scared, and just kept praying fearfully, “God, help me to stop being anxious. I know You’ve got this.” I often found that after praying, I didn’t feel better. I would immediately start thinking, “But what if He doesn’t have this? What if He doesn’t provide? What if I’ve sinned too much?”
 I’ve realized over the past few years that this type of fearful, doubting prayer wasn’t healthy. We often talk about “substitute addiction” in counseling. It is the idea that some people will effectively “swap” addictions or unhealthy behaviors. They give up alcohol, but replace it with another, equally unhealthy behavior (excessive exercise, excessive spending, prescription drug abuse). I noticed that I had simply replaced my unhealthy anxiety about money and the future with an unhealthy, anxious view of God! I spent just as much time worrying that God wouldn’t help me or follow through as I had spent worrying about my everyday fears.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned that instead of swapping anxieties, you have to instead substitute a healthy behavior for an unhealthy one. The opposite of anxiety is not frantic, anxious praying! Instead, it is a strong, unshakable confidence in God’s love and provision. It is not simply “stop being scared,” but instead, it is telling myself that I don’t need to be scared because God’s love involves it all: grace, forgiveness, strength and provision. There have been great verses to get me through fearful moments, and I hope these are comforting to those of you who are scared.
 
Philippians 4:19 (ESV) says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus himself told the disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?...Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 31-32 ESV)
In spite of these comforting verses, I used to speak them from a place of fear. After reading Philippians 4:19, I would worry endlessly: what if God doesn’t provide for me? Am I too sinful for His blessings? I felt like the little boy from Oliver Twist, coming up to the big scary cook asking, “Please sir, I want some more,” fearful and trembling the whole time.
However, as I think of God’s work in my life, and the lives of those around me, I realize that I shouldn’t come to Him in fear. Instead, I need to come confidently to Him and trust Him with everything. My life verse over the past two years has been Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua was given a large, daunting task and I’m sure he was scared. I love that God didn’t simply say, “Hey, calm down, chill out, stop worrying, get over it.”
Instead, He commands Joshua to be strong and courageous before He tells Joshua to not be frightened. We need to stop seeking God from a place of fear. Instead, we need to seek Him and allow Him to help strengthen us. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) says, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
We need to pray and live courageously, knowing that we come to our Father as warriors, as strong women, as the children of God, and that He will strengthen and help us because He loves us!  It is more than Him simply telling me to stop being dismayed. God doesn’t want us to just stop being scared, He also wants to strengthen and uphold us. He doesn't want us just to shush our fears, and hope they stop bothering us. Instead, we can be strong, confident and overcome our fears.
Over the years, I’ve seen Christians who embody this. Christians going through intense trials and difficulties courageously. They aren’t fearful because they are confident in God’s plan for their lives. They inspire me, and in those moments, where I feel myself praying with fear, I remind myself that God doesn’t want me to feel scared. He wants me to be strong and courageous, even when I’m unsure how He will remedy the situation.
If you are fearful, seek His promises through His Word, and come to Him in confidence. Come to Him knowing that He will provide and He will strengthen you because He loves you enough to want you to live without fear. You are a child of God. Be courageous, my friends. ~Hilary
You can find Hilary and her blog at www.blessedbyhislove.com.  She also has a great FB page here! Please take a moment to check it out! Hilary Cobb is a born-and-raised California-girl who now lives in beautiful Idaho. She lives with her amazing husband and their two young children. Hilary works as a therapist part-time, doing counseling with children, adults and couples. She is also the Family Ministries Director for her church and speaks at events and schools. When she has some downtime, she loves coffee, running and crochet! Her life verse is Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” and she is grateful that God has allowed her to serve Him throughout her life. Thank you sister for letting me help share your thoughts! ~B