Friday, July 6, 2007

In Times of Discouragement...

{{originally written Oct. 2, 2006...
transferred from previous blog}}

I recently received this comment

and would like to respond in this post...

Thoughts shared by Anonymous

"During your pregnacies, did you ever feel..
well, not quite up to taking care of the family?
Your family is so precious to you,
and if you have ever been ill or not quite
the energetic self you seem to be,
I would imagine that your heart would ache
like mine over all the things I *wish*
I was doing with and for my family.
I'm wondering how you got by
during those down times...
especially if your husband was away
and not able to help with the children.
My children are 10, 8, 6, 1,
and we are expecting in April.
I've been extreemy dizzy and nauseated...
embarrassed over the volume
of housework that has been let go,
disenhearted over our new "less than ideal"
eating habits we've temporarily adopted,
and grieving over all the adventures
and learning experiences
we are missing out on together as a family.
I'm very grateful that you share your family with us.
I'm very inspired and blessed
by you and your children.
I've only been reading your blog for a few months.
I'm curious about your experience
and how you have handled the down times."

Dear Anonymous (and others)~
My heart and prayers truly do go out to you.

You are definately NOT alone
in the way you are feeling.
I speak, encounter, and receive emails
from women who are experiencing the same thing.
And I, too, have been there
AND I still sometimes find myself falling into being there.

I have very recently wrote a series of emails
to a new online friend about this exact situation
and would love to share some of what I replied...

I think one of the reasons the Lord
allows things like this to happen is because
He is making us more like the Son of God.
I think that when things don't go
according to how we had planned or how we had hoped,
there is great training ground for building our character.
We have opportunities, then, to learn and practice
things like faith, trust, obedience, patience, meekness,
contentment, joyfulness, thankfulness, praise, and more.
It is much more effective and beneficial to us
when we embrace it through fervent prayer.

I know that, especially with little ones,
it can be a challenge to get, what we think,
anything accomplished.
But sometimes we aren't exactly looking
from an eternal perspective as God does.

The Holy Spirit laid this Scripture on my heart...
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17,18

In times when we feel
that we aren't accomplishing anything,
He has given us an opportunity to accomplish,
perhaps, the things that aren't necessarily seen
(like growing in godly character...
in ourselves and our children,
like blessing our beloved with our joyfulness
despite how our day seems to have gone, etc...
the possibilites, especially with God, are endless).

When I am in the middle of those trials, struggles,

and sometimes seemingly desperate moments,
the only thing that will sometimes get me through
is remembering the Lord's promise
that He is making me more like His Son.
"And we know that all things
work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
to be conformed to the image of his Son..."
~ Romans 8:28,29a

I think when we truly grasp
that concept in our hearts
and compare what Christ went through for us,
our temporal problems begin to look less overwhelming.
But there is more that we can do...

What I write below is what I have said
and do say to myself and have practiced.

In regards to HOW...
First, we need to stop looking back

at who we 'used to be'
or dwelling on who we 'wish' to be.
We CANNOT move forward by looking back,
nor by dwelling in an "I wish" thought life.
Somehow we have ended up where we are
and God has allowed it.
Instead of looking back at how it used to be
or how we wish it could be...
look forward to what it will be.
WE don't have to know specifics of what it will be
but we do have a God Who is faithful to His promises
and we can (and must) trust in that.
We must press on and contiue,

even in weariness...
"...but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth
unto those things which are before"
~ Philippians 3:13

#1 ~ I am convinced

that when we are struggling with emotions
and feelings like this that the first thing
we need to do is Repent.
We need to get on our knees
and on our faces before God
and repent of our ungodly attitudes...
even if we feel they are justified.
There were many times that I felt
my emotions were justified
and the Lord showed me that I needed
to repent of my satisfaction in that as well.
So I did.
There does need to be a point of brokeness.
The Bible says,
"The LORD is nigh unto them
that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
~ Psalm 34:18
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart,
O God, thou wilt not despise."
~ Psalm 51:17

If this is true for you
and have already done this... Great....
But it needs to be done continually.
As soon as we feel these
negative, ungodly emotions,
we need to pray.
I find myself praying all day long.
After all, the Bible says
"Pray without ceasing" ~ 1 Thess 5:17.
Praying on our knees, in silence, in tears even,
I think, is needed, but God doesn't expect us
to do that all day long.
However, He does command us
to pray all day long... without ceasing.
Say a prayer under our breath,
say prayers aloud to ourselves,
write them down, sing them, think them.
Pray... continually.

#2 ~ I understand with having children,

being pregnant, domestic duties,
and not feeling the best
that it seems near impossible
to have quiet time with the Lord.
I am convinced this is a complete lie
from Satan himself.
We just choose to listen to them.
Our quiet time in God's Word
can be done just about any time
and He, in His Great Wisdom,
has given us the perfect amount of time
in each day that we need to do
what He has commanded us to do.
We just tend to be poor stewards of our time
(I, too, am very guilty of this).
Of course, I believe the morning
is the best time for quiet time
but it is not the only time.
And may I say, also, that quiet time
does NOT have to be an hour,
a half hour, or even 15 whole minutes.
ANY time we can spend in His Holy Word
is time very well spent
and He will bless us for that time.

Practical ideas...
If the children are already up when we arise
then we could read our Bible, in the kitchen,
as they eat their breakfast...
even if it's a few verses.
Give them a specific thing to play
and sit in the next room.
We can also read a few verses
or even a chapter as we fold laundry
or make a meal.
We could even read the few minutes
we 'steal' in the bathroom.
We can spend 5-10 minutes before bed
and read His Word.
Instead of getting on the computer...
read God's Word.
While holding one of our children,
we can read God's Word (silent or aloud).
While laying in bed,
we can read God's Word.

There ARE ways
that we can be in God's Word.
We just have to be willing to do them.
If we do anything at all,
we need to do this very important thing.
Make a committment to read God's Word everyday...
whether it's in the morning or some other time,
but this one thing is needful.

#3 ~ Memorizing Scripture is crucial
to our successful, spiritual lives.
I have written
a couple of posts about this.

Even if we memorize 1 verse a week...
that will be 52 verses a year! Wow!
That would be 52 of God's Perfect Thoughts
that we know as our own!
Our way of thinking is changed
when our minds are filled with God's thoughts.
One easy way to memorize Scripture is
to say the verse 25 times a day the first day,
20 times the next day, 15 times the next,
then 10, then 5,then, at least, once a week.
I have plain, ol' index cards
taped in my bathroom by the mirror
so that is the first thing I see in the morning.
I say them over and over and over again
as I am in our bathroom, getting dressed,
pulling my hair back, etc...
So many people shun away from
really memorizing Scripture
and I think that's part of the reason
our spiritual lives suffer.

It truly isn't that hard to memorize Scripture.
If it were, God wouldn't have commanded
us to know it.
(Deut. 11:18; Prov. 3:3; 6:21; 7:3;
and many more -I encourage you to look those up).

#4 ~ Something that has helped me tremendously
is keeping a prayer journal.
Actually, a prayer journal may not be
the right title for it.
It is more like my letters/written prayers to God.
When I am feeling hopeless, depressed,
discouraged, desperate, etc...,
Instead of calling a friend, or my mom, etc....
I 'call' my Heavenly Father.
I write to Him what is in my heart.
I confess, I share with Him my concerns,
I share with Him that I don't want to feel this way, etc...
and I find that, many times, as I am writing to Him,
He begins to encourage my heart
and change my thoughts.

I think I must have gotten this 'idea' from David.
And that is probably why I love the Psalms SO much.
Which I HIGHLY suggest reading during this time.
But throughout the psalms,
David pours out his heart,his hopeless feelings, etc...
and we see that the Lord encourages his heart
and the Psalm usually ends in praise to the Lord.

#5 ~ Sing! Sing! Sing!
I'm very serious. Sing.
Keep a cd with uplifting hymns/songs
playing all day.
Sing them in your mind, in your heart,
out of your mouth. Sing.
Music and singing fills our home always.
Oh, what a blessing it is.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusted in him, and I am helped:
therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth;
and with my song will I praise him."
~ Psalm 28:7

#6 ~ Do share with our husband
that we are struggling.
Not in a complaining way.
Just approach him, prayerfully,
and let him know that we are struggling
and ask him to pray for us.
"Bear ye one another's burdens..."
~ Galatians 6:2

#7 ~ We must remember that
times like these will truly not last forever.
Busyness, trials, pregnancies,
physical ailments, daily events, etc...
are real situations that affect us in many ways.
But this is only for a season.
"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven"
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

One of the greatest lessons I learned
(and still learn) in hard times like these
is the lesson of obedience, perseverance,
and faith/trust.
Even those times I felt that I had no joy,
I learned that those were times
the Lord wanted me to just be obedient
and keep keeping on, trusting in Him...
just like David... just like Job...
just like many others.

There is no secret formula
and no overnight success.
And, yes, it must be worked at.
But it is accomplished through
the Lord Jesus Christ.
We need to pray He will enable us,
will teach us, will show us.

Read Psalm 119:33-40.
I try to always read/pray this passage...
"Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes;
and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding,
and I shall keep thy law;
yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path
of thy commandments;
for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,
and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;
and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant,
who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:
quicken me in thy righteousness."
~ Psalm 119:33-40

Praise the Lord that our victory
is in the Lord Jesus Christ...
"But thanks be unto to God,
which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:57


Dina said...

Wow and wow!! I want to re read it all again and take it all in. The words here in your post are great words. Once again I come visit this blog and am trully filled with words of wisdom. Well done.

Brenda said...

Just what I needed to read this morning... and the Holy Spirit knew that! :) Thank you for sharing from your heart and that you keep pointing to the Lord and His Holy Word! (((hugs))) Love you!


That was truly excellent advice and I thank God for you that you were able to answer her questions so very well. We have all been there but we don't have to stay there when we follow the instructions that you gave. Thanks be to God!!! He will help us bear any and every burden. connie from Texas


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