Quagmires

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

On our anniversary tour of the Scottish highlands, Spouse and I were fascinated by tranquil green moors that disguised deadly secrets.

Quagmires, they were called.

Our guide explained that you could be hiking along, enjoying a peaceful moorland stroll, and suddenly come upon a wee sodden patch of mud camouflaged by brush. Another step, and your boot would be sucked right off your foot. If you’re a bit more unfortunate, your entire leg might sink into the hidden quagmire, followed shortly by the rest of you, never to be seen again.

We women have hidden quagmires too – stressors not visible to others: festering wounds camouflaged by our everyday “game face,” unresolved relationship rifts, consequences of poor choices, leftover childhood damage, gouges hacked by hurtful words, lingering pain, or emotional scars testifying to previous bloody encounters.

Hidden wounds are tough to heal because we tend to keep them covered rather than exposing them to light and air.

But in order for healing to take place, debris must be cleared away, the wound cleaned, healing balm applied, and sufficient time allowed for the protective scab to form and do its restorative work. If a wound is left unattended, the risk of infection increases, and it may become septic. Even more painful. Crippling. Possibly deadly.

So how do we go about ripping off nasty old bandages to expose our hidden wounds to light and air?

Nail it. Identify the real problem. Are any of your current behaviors driving you nuts? Do they seem out of control and you’ve no idea why you act this way? You’re in good company. Even the apostle Paul, lamented, “When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19 NLT). Examine your past for clues to the source. Ask Papa God to guide you in sleuthing out and confronting the cause of your perplexing behavior (which, by the way, is merely a symptom of the underlying real problem). Unearth and expose your wound. It might be buried layers deep.

Air it. Admit your secret to Papa God; wait for His response. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22 NIV). Then confide in one or two trusted friends … not your entire women’s roller derby team.  Allow these soul sisters to help tug off that filthy, embedded bandage bit by bit. The act of uncovering (confessing) your hidden problem is the first step toward healing.

Bathe it in light.  Invest in a good Bible concordance/reference book and several different Bible translations. Look up words or phrases related to your specific wound and do a personal Bible study (taking notes on passages and journaling your thoughts about what you’re reading) on all related Scripture. Ask Jesus to reveal His perspective to you (it will likely be quite different than yours) and to initiate rehab from the inside out. “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19 NIV).

If you’re in a quagmire now, be assured that your heavenly Father’s mighty hand is extended, waiting to pull you out. Despite your deepest, grossest, most putrefied hidden wounds, His “power is strongest when you are weak” (2 Corinthians 12:9, CEV).

In the lovely, lilting words of our Scottish guide regarding the hidden perils of quagmires, “Larn what treach’rous terrain looks like. If ye know what t’look fer, ye need fear n’moor.”

And on the moors of life, we need fear no more either. As long as we know what to look for and follow our ultimate Guide, we won’t be sucked under.

*Adapted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms by Debora M. Coty with permission from Barbour Publishing.

TWEETABLE
Thoughts on Navigating the Quagmires of Life – @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: Have you ever had a hidden wound exposed to the light? Tell us your story!

Even the Little Things

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

One day in the grocery store, I was caught in the fallout of the prevalent “I don’t need a cart” mentality. As I perused the apples, I noticed a man carrying four 2-liter bottles of soda in his arms. Just as he passed me, one of the large bottles slipped from his arms and hit the tile floor. The angle of the impact was just right to be wrong – for me.

The lid popped off and a powerful shower of Coca Cola covered me and my cart. The man glanced at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Huh. Who would’ve thought that would happen.” Then he walked away. No apology. No offer to get me a paper towel. When I got home, I not only had to take a shower, I also had to wash all my groceries before I put them away.

Okay, I’ll confess. Many times, I too have gone into the grocery store and decided against getting a cart because I “only need a couple of things.” As I rush down the aisles to get the bread, milk, and bananas I usually end up seeing other things I really need too. Then before you know it my arms are overloaded and I end up leaving a trail of things behind me as I make my way to the checkout line.

Unfortunately, I do the same thing with life’s little problems and stresses. When just one or two small things come along I often fail to turn them over to God. “I can handle that… and I can handle that…” But before I know it I’m weighed down with a myriad of things I really can’t handle on my own.

If you are anything like me you may sometimes find it harder to cope with life’s little things than the major trials. I trust too much in myself and too little in God. In my sinful independence and arrogance I think, “I can do this. I don’t really need to bother God with this one.” But when I fail to give everything to God right away – no matter how seemingly insignificant – all those little things tend to mount up into one giant mess.

Are you weary from trying to carry an armload of life’s troubles all by yourself? Jesus urges us to bring all our burdens to Him:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

David, the shepherd boy and great king of Israel, intimately knew the great Burden Bearer: Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.  Psalm 55:22 NIV

So did the Apostle Peter: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Don’t wait until you’re buried under a pile of cares before you come to Jesus. Bring the first one and every one to Him.

TWEETABLE
The Importance of Remembering to Turn to God Even in The Little Things – wisdom from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Kathy Howard encourages women to live an unshakable faith for life by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. The author of 8 books and a former “cultural Christian,” Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. Kathy and her husband have 3 married children and 4 grandsons. Find out more and get free discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.

Join the conversation: What do you need to bring to Him today?

 

Keeping Hope to Keep the Call

by Pam Farrel           

I was weary—a tired to the bone, drop-dead fatigued, completely exhausted, “can’t take even one more step” kind of weary. It seemed we were caught in the perfect storm: the ship of our life being tossed about on a tumultuous sea of unending responsibilities.

The positive included constant travel for our ministry, which we loved, but it did take a physical and mental toll. We also had ongoing multiple book projects, which are wonderful blessings, but require much labor.

And in the midst of it all, we were dealing with aging parent care, which required Bill to drive through grueling Southern California traffic for months on end. We were both at the end of our proverbial ropes.

I knew that the Word has some prescriptions for handling weariness.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV )

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalms 62:5 NIV

“. . .Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV 

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex 33:14 NIV

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work…” Ex 23:12 NIV

I knew I needed rest, renewal, revival, rejuvenation—and recovery! So, when the Professional Women’s Fellowship hosted a one-day retreat at a lovely private estate, I went. And begged God to speak to me there and give me HOPE!

During the hour-long quiet time, I stretched out under the shade of a large tree near the pond. As I opened my journaling Bible, I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 23 as I lay down in “pasture” that was “beside still waters.” So, I continued to pray through the psalm: Lord,  refresh my soul….guide me along the right paths  for [Your] name’s sake.  

I flipped opened my Bible to other Psalms, as I nearly always gain refreshing hope there.  I landed on Psalm 55:22 (NIV): “ Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

I thought, “Wow Lord, this seems the perfect verse for me, but exactly what does it mean to “cast my cares” on You?  And what does it mean that you will “sustain” me —because I REALLY need some sustaining power!”

After praying out my weariness, I looked up and found the word translated as “burden” could also be translated “assignment” or “gift”. I thought, “A gift? Really?” I was beginning to see that I had been viewing the responsibilities God had given me as a burden rather than a blessing. Obviously, I needed a paradigm shift to a more heavenly viewpoint!

I also saw the promise that God would “sustain” me– He would nourish, strengthen, and support me — and make me sufficient to handle my assignment.  God was whispering hope to my soul, that whatever my ministry was depleting, God would pour back into me—and more!

In that moment, peace, relief, and a rejuvenating hope washed over me. To lock this insight into my mind, I sketched out two hands, representing God’s caring hands. In one palm was my “gift” of cares and in the other… myself.

Both you and your calling are held up by the Good Shepherd. We are in His sustaining, caring hands. God’s got us!

pam ferrelAbout the author: You too can find hope from God in the Psalms: Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience by Pam Farrel, Jean E. Jones, and Karla Dornacher, from Harvest House. Find out more at discoveringhopeinthepsalms.com.

Join the conversation: What burdens do you need to cast upon the Lord?

Photo by Victoria Palacios on Unsplash

Pitching Unnecessary Baggage

by Delores Liesner

Packing for a recent writer’s conference in New Mexico was record breaking for me. I managed to get everything into one carry-on suitcase – clothing, toiletries and even an extra empty bag for books on the trip home!  For a clothes horse like me, it was no less than a miracle.

I’d often likened my early life story to baggage that I carried into our marriage.  Now, standing at the luggage carousel watching others haul gigantic suitcases or multi-pieced sets, I thought about the time so many years ago when I left home after high school.

Talk about baggage: I was so emotionally battered, I might as well have been hauling an entire carousel’s worth.  After spending a childhood being told how worthless I was, I carried an unquenchable need for love and acceptance. My brokenness was expressed in an obsession over my physical appearance—on shallow things like makeup and clothing. But any attention I received for my efforts felt shallow and false, which never satisfied my longings. Ironic isn’t it – that I would artificiality try to add to who I was, then be surprised and disappointed with a superficial response?

Ken and I both entered our marriage loaded down with baggage. We wanted something better: a strong spiritual standard for our marriage and family.  We believed the Bible was God’s Word and began reading and applying it to our lives.  The more we learned about the Lord and His love for us, the more we loved him, and the easier it became to trust Him with our baggage.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you.” (NASB)

Cast comes from a Hebrew word meaning to pitch over or toss out. Now isn’t that a concept – not just to tell God about my burden, but to toss it over to Him, like using a pitchfork to move dirty hay from a barn!

Our casting began with material possessions, because things were easier to let go of than emotions, fears, hopes, and dreams.  God was faithful to accept those weak offerings and turn them into assurances that He could be trusted with more.

The longer we walked with God, the more we opened up to Him. It was a lot like Robert Boyd’s illustration in his little book My Heart, Christ’s Home. Metaphorical doors in our lives were opened, rooms were being cleaned and aired, and God faithfully led us toward the good and the healthy.

Some days when I read Scripture I felt God saying: Have I let you down yet? Haven’t you figured out that what you have tossed to me I have replaced with abundance? Letting go became easier and easier as I gradually learned that our Mighty Savior is absolutely worthy of my trust.

That trip to New Mexico was a definite time of emotional healing for me.  God opened new doors for me and proved His faithfulness once again. I left the airport carrying less baggage than ever before, thankful for His abundant blessings in my life.

I’m truly lighter– inside and out.  How about you?  Got your pitchfork ready?

delores liesnerAbout the author: Delores Liesner loves to reveal the dynamic hope and confidence found in the heritage of our personal God. She writes from Racine, WI., is a CLASS graduate, 21st Century Grandma and Life Tales columnist. She has published hundreds of stories and articles. Check out her Amazon Author page!

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Delores’s book, Be the Miracle,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What baggage do you still need to toss?