Stuck Like Glue

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

We have three, geriatric, special needs dogs. Boone, our 12-year-old yellow lab, is deaf. Cooper, the 11-year-old chihuahua we inherited when my father-in-law passed away, is blind. And then there’s Remi, a 10-year-old rescue dog. Remi belonged to our son Mark. When Mark went away to college eight years ago, we kept him temporarily while he lived in the dorm. But then we refused to give back when he asked for him. Don’t tell anyone, but Remi is my favorite.

Remi is a mutt descended from mutts. We actually had his DNA tested. (Yes, we are “those kind of people.”) We wanted to know what all was in his genes, because he’s such a great dog. He’s super smart, energetic, affectionate, and athletic. For instance, he loves jumping in the air for a ball and doing twists and turns on the way down. In case you care, we did get some information from the DNA test. He is 12.5% Miniature Pinscher, 12.5% Chihuahua, 12.5% Poodle, 12.5% Pekinese, and 50% too much mutt to identify.

Remi’s been healthy until recently. A few weeks ago, he fell off a chair and hurt his back. The vet checked him out and assures us it’s all muscular. She put him on steroids and muscle relaxers and it helped. But this morning, he reinjured it.

He is clearly in pain and can’t get in a comfortable position. He’s been clinging to me or my husband constantly. He gingerly follows us around, sitting on our feet when we stop moving. He needs help and believes we can help him. So, he’s sticking to us like glue.

As I watched him lean on my husband, I remembered something I heard at a funeral a few years ago. The pastor encouraged the family to allow their grief to press them into God rather than let it push them away from Him. That has stuck with me. I pray this for others going through grief, loss, and pain. I pray it for myself.

Too often when we are hurting, we allow our pain to wedge in between us and God. We may wonder why He isn’t fixing things, what’s taking Him so long, or why He would allow us to suffer. But over and over in Scripture, we see encouragement to do just the opposite.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”  Psalm 121:1-4, ESV

When trials, grief, or troubles hit, that’s the time to press in even closer. To cling to the One who loves us most. To stick like glue to our all-powerful, sovereign God. Even if He doesn’t change our circumstances, He promises to walk through the trials with us. To comfort, encourage, and strengthen us. To be closer than our very breath.

For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:7-8, ESV

TWEETABLE
Stuck Like Glue – thoughts on moving closer to God when life gets hard from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book, God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times, provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: Have you allowed grief or pain to come between you and the Lord?

 

The Cave

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1, NIV

I don’t like this cave I’m in. Not one bit.

It’s dark. It’s uncomfortably damp. And it smells like rancid mushrooms.

I feel terribly alone one minute, and the next, I’m not sure I’m alone at all. I think I can hear someone – or something – breathing. If I strain hard enough in the darkness, I can make out the shape of a man on the far side of the cave.

Still. Silent. Facing me.

I feel my skin crawl. But I’ve no one to blame but myself. I chose to come in here. I slipped into the cave of disappointment on my own volition. No one chased me here or forced me to enter.  It just seemed the only place to go under the circumstances I was facing. Hard times. Heartache. Uncertainty.

So here I am. Hating the darkness and wishing I could find a way to escape this cave of disappointment. Disappointment over people I thought I knew and trusted. Disappointment in witnessing injustice and helplessly watching those I love suffer.

Disappointment with life itself.

I’m reminded of a biblical shepherd-king named David. He spent a lot of time in caves too. He was running from a man (Saul) he once trusted and even revered; a hand-picked-by-God king whom David had been honored to serve and comfort with music during his deepest emotional struggles.

A man who then turned on David and sought to take his life.

And so David fled to caves (documented in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel). Many different caves over the years. Many different disappointments. David was forced to live life on the run.

A cave-dwelling fugitive.

And there he must’ve shivered like me in the cold blackness, feeling the deep disappointments of life to the marrow of his bones.

The Cave is an awful place. It sucks light, joy, and hope right out of us. Drains us dry. Because it makes us overlook all the things we have to be grateful for, all the blessings of life that our Papa God has lavished upon us. Things we forget to notice when times get hard. When things don’t turn out the way we envisioned; when dear ones betray us and God seems silent. When we’ve lost jobs, security, mentors, friends, health, or the dreams we secretly nurtured.

And we cannot fathom the why of it.

We all spend time in The Cave. It’s where Papa God does some of His finest character-sculpting. The Cave is where He keeps his sharpest chisels and coarsest sanders. Where He meets us one-on-one, to shape and mold us into the beloved son or daughter He’s had in mind for us to be from the very beginning.

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love” (Ephesians 1:4, MSG).

Mother Teresa, who spent quite a few of her precious years here on earth in The Cave, said, “You’ll never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” In her own barren cave of disappointment, she learned that when all else seems lost, He is enough. And He was.

You know, the more I stare through the murkiness of this cave, I can begin to make out the identity of the shape over there, patiently biding time, watching me.

It’s … why, it’s Jesus.

I get the feeling He’s been waiting there a long time for me to notice that I’m not alone. And now He’s drawing nearer. There’s a warm light radiating from His eyes. I think He’s got something in His hand. And He’s smiling.

TWEETABLE
The Cave – insight from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Tell me, dear friend, when did you last spent time in The Cave?

Do You Have a Right-Hand Man?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.                                                                                                                   Psalm 16:8, NASB

I sat down on the floor of my office and cried. My inner circle around me was falling apart. And I felt so alone.

My assistant in ministry and close friend for the past two years had just informed me that she had to step down from her position in order to take care of priorities at home. I understood her reasons. I wanted to be supportive. But all I could think about was losing her. She would no longer be there to help me. No longer be there to be my sounding board, my prayer support, my “other half” in a very real sense.

I felt like I was losing my right hand.

Hours earlier, I had spoken to a large group of women about the seasons of our lives in which we need to be pruned. I talked about how rose bushes need to be pruned. They look choppy after the pruning, but come spring, the roses come back brighter and more beautiful than ever before.

But here I was, being pruned in my own life, and feeling like I was losing my right hand!

“God, this doesn’t feel like pruning,” I prayed. “This feels like my right hand is being chopped off!”

Desperate for His presence and His comfort, I turned to the Psalms. I read Psalm 16 aloud and stopped suddenly at verse 8.

“…because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m complaining that I’ve lost my right hand, but You are the One who is truly at my right hand. You are the One who helps me, counsels me, encourages me. You are the One who never leaves my side.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry I didn’t see it before. You truly are my Right-hand Man.”

As I read through the rest of the Psalm, I smiled at how it ended: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (verse 11, NASB emphasis added).

God was telling me in my moment of fear and anxiety that not only was I never alone, but I never would be. And with my God at my right hand, there is abundant joy in His presence and pleasures forever. He was making it clear to me that there’s no one else I would rather have at my right hand.

I got up off the floor, walked out of the room with my Bible in one hand, my head held high, and my Right-hand Man at my side.

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder in Your Word that I never walk alone. You are always at my side.

TWEETABLE
Do You Have a Right-Hand Man? – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including her best-selling titles When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. For more on her books and resources to improve your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, or for a free consultation to see if she can help you write your book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Do You Long to Hear God’s Whispers on Your Heart? “You willcindi mcmenamin God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Do you want to know His thoughts of you, His plans for you, His comfort and His presence? Get Cindi’s book, God Whispers to a Woman’s Heart.

Join the conversation: Pruning can be an uncomfortable process. Have you ever felt the Lord was pruning you? Did a time of growth follow?