There’s a wise, old saying, “one day at a time.” Which, in many seasons and situations, rings true and hopeful. However, when I’ve battled through seasons of diagnosed-depression, that adage was nearly impossible (“nearly” because with God all things are possible, Matthew 19:26). In prior seasons of depression, I’d wake up and no sooner would I open my eyes and “one day at a time” was one day too many. Such a daunting and tiring “goal,” it almost presents itself as an excuse to stay in bed and rest. So what to do? I put a sticky note beside my bed that says, “one hour at a time.’ Let’s say I wake up at 6:30am. When I reach for my phone to turn off my alarm, I see that sticky note. But as pangs of sadness, darkness, emptiness wake up in my head too, I’m immediately commissioned to just make it to 7:30am. “Heather, what can you do to make it to 7:30am?” That kind of rhetorical question is answered with things like: brush teeth, put contacts in, make coffee, let dogs out. It still requires effort and energy, but not in overdrive or abundance. Now with anything related to my mental-plight, I always try to tie it to God’s Word. Because you and I need that a million times more than personal advice and experience. This 1-minute post may stick with you for a day. God’s Word will stick with you for a lifetime. As it pertains to my “one hour at a time,” this verse really spoke to me: “Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.” (Psalm 31:5) Friend, if you’re going through a depressing season, one…keep going—we walk through the valley we don’t live there! (Psalm 23:4). And two, you’re not by yourself—we’re in this together, even if we’re taking it one hour at at a time!
For eight years I’ve carried a concealed weapon. Concealed because it’s always in my purse; and unless you snoop around in there, you won’t know it’s there. I bought it for cheap at a local store. I don’t have a license to carry it, but I have power with it. It’s double-impacted, so it’s offensive AND defensive in its use. It’s my pocket-size notebook with handwritten verses. 🙃 I selected verses that personally speak life to me when the devil whispers, “die, quit, give-up, why bother.” The Bible says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) With this, I believe God at His word (lit. & fig.) so that’s why I started carrying this “weapon” of life. If God is life and the devil is death, then I will speak God’s words to counterattack. Why do I speak them aloud? Because of what the Bible says—and doesn’t say. Isaiah 46:9-10 says only God knows the future. It also says, “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7); and when Jesus was resisting the devil tempting him in the wilderness, Jesus spoke aloud to him. Furthermore, there’s nothing in the Bible to indicate that Satan is omniscient. Now, I’m not weird about it—like, I don’t go around shouting verses in public. But that’s not where the devil whispers to me anyway. Most of the time, when I hear, “give up,” it’s when I’m alone. So I pull out my notebook and speak a truth to the enemy’s lying. I recognize this is an unsophisticated tactic. But I can’t deny it’s effect because I’m still here, God and I are winning. I hope this encourages someone today. If you want to know which verses I have in my “concealed weapon,” email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do we fight? Doesn’t that go against the logic that we are suppose to love? Doesn’t that contradict the adage, “turn the other cheek?” Shouldn’t Christians be nice-guys who let other guys win? All these questions have run through my head. Until one day when I came across Psalm 144:1. “Thank the Lord, my rock, who trained my hands to fight and my fingers to do battle.” According to the Bible, do we always roll over and play dead when our marriage is on the rocks? No, we can fight and know God has prepared us—and of equal importance—He goes before us. (Deuteronomy 31:8). Do we always let our prodigal child die a slow death of addiction? No, we can fight. We can put on the boxing gloves, get into the ring and KNOW God is helping, coaching, interceding, from our corner. That weakness we have? That temptation we succumb to? Do we always accept its fate? Bow to its pretension? No, we can fight. This verse says David thanked God who PREPARED him for the battle. If God prepares us for the battle, then we can fight. Furthermore, the bible promises that we are “MORE than a conquereor,” (Romans 8) What’s “MORE than?” A battler who doesn’t surrender on battlegrounds because they fight WITH the ultimate winning Champio (“If God is for me, who can stand against me?” (Romans 8). I may not know you, and I may not know your battle, but I know you CAN fight! I hope this encourages someone today. 💥🥊❤️
Before I met Raul, I saw life through shattered-glass. The “why,” or “how” formulated on broken focus and jaded pieces. The cup wasn’t half-empty it was almost-gone. The grass wasn’t greener on the other side, it was brown. Life wasn’t a bowl full of cherries, it was a bowl of sour cherries. After we met, I noticed he didn’t see through the same eyes I did. Even though we’d see the same unfortunate event, he’d see it differently. Instead of seeing it through shattered glass, Raul saw it through stained glass. If you’ve ever seen historical cathedrals (like this pic I took at Sainte-Chapelle de Paris), the perfected synchronicity of prisms and colors will leave you breathless. Why does Raul see through stained-glass eyes? Because at the beginning of his faith, he took Romans 8:28, literally. He believed God at his Word that, “ALL things work together for those who love him.” Raul has taught me that if God is in it, we can look for the good in it. Not in some things, but in ALL things. God is not an exaggerator. He’s not an embellished storyteller. When God said “ALL things,” God meant All. Things. When we become a Christ-follower, we become a new creature (Ephesians 4:24) and with that, comes a new set of eyes. Raul embraced his right away! For me, it’s taken time to adust my sight to my new stain-glass(es). 👓 I know we all have eyes, but I pray we look through the stained glass of God’s promises not the shattered glass of our past.
Isaiah 49:18 • Isaiah 50:4 • Isaiah 51:2
“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish.” Jonah 2:1
When my brother Jason lived in Florida he volunteered as a fireman. A day-in-the-life can be a building on fire, a fatality on the highway, a threat of terrorism. While someone like me would run from these scenarios, someone like my brother runs to them. Curiously, when I asked Jason about it, he didn’t have some pithy explanation. He just said, “I don’t know, it’s just something inside of me.” Jesus saves too. A day-in-the-life for Him is a man addicted to drugs; a woman being trafficked; a college student attempting suicide; a spouse being betrayed; a parent seeing their baby rushed to the ICU; a single-parent losing their job; a “healthy” person getting a “terminal” diagnosis. Everyday we find ourselves in need of being saved, and Jesus goes through any and all fires to get to us. I know someone who started taking drugs when he was a young teen. For two decades, it would be a burning building he could not get out of and it presented three choices: give up and burn; risk everything trying to find an escape; call upon Jesus, who knows the way in and the way out because He is the Way (John 14:6). He can rescue without any risk to his own Holiness while keeping those He rescues, safe. After years of the first two choices being in vain, this addict called upon the name of the Lord to be saved. Today, he is six months sober and alive. If you need to be saved, call on Jesus. He loves you. He already went through the fires of hell, died and defeated death for you! And He is standing by to rescue you. “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21
Sheep are protected in the valley by the shepherd. And so are we. Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” We get weak, sick; we break, lose our way; we grow weary, disoriented. But our Shepherd doesn’t. His power, wisdom and protection never weakens—it is consistently eternally consistent. Does our Shepherd shield us FROM the valley? Not always. Sometimes it’s the only way to get to the goals and dreams (“green pastures”) He has for us. But nothing can separate you from God when you’re in it; and only God allows what happens through it. I know dark valleys. Even with God, it stinks to be in them. But it would stink more to be in it without Him. Some of you are walking through difficult valleys. REMEMBER: we walk through the valley we don’t live there. And our fear in this dark valley is legit, but the fear is our prerogative—because Jesus said, “don’t be afraid, little flock.” We don’t need to fear the valley if God is with us. We ONLY need to fear the valley if He isn’t. I hope this encourages someone today.