I’ll Be Home for Christmas

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I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I hid in my pickup truck in the garage. I didn’t want to fall apart in front of Maddie. It was bad enough my daughter lost her mom so close to Christmas. I didn’t want her to think she was losing her dad to loud sobbing fits. I was supposed to be the strong one, the tough guy. But somehow I felt smaller than my five-year-old who played with baby dolls.

Leslie, my wife, always knew how to talk to Maddie. But since three o’clock in the afternoon two Wednesdays ago, after a horrible accident involving my wife’s minivan and a big rig, I was on my own to raise our daughter.

The truth: I was lost without Leslie. I was lucky I could get myself out of bed every morning and make coffee. And somehow I managed to wash our clothes and boil water for hot dogs. Other than that, I dragged myself through the dark nightmare my life had become. The only thing that brought me any light was when Maddie held my hand when we walked to her ballet class.

I wasn’t much of a praying man, but I found myself bent over the steering wheel and crying as my heart split open and the words spilled out.

Please help me, God. I don’t know how to go on from here.

More tears fell until I finally pulled myself together, blowing my nose on some napkins I found tucked in the glove box under a church bulletin. I hadn’t been much of a church goer since I was a kid, since accepting Jesus. I’d gone a few times to make my wife happy, but my dad always said, “Men that go to church are weak” and I had my “tough” reputation to uphold.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. Both of my eyes were swollen like someone had sucker-punched me. Oh sure. I’m a tough guy all right. I felt like a big fake.

I got out of my truck, slammed the door, and grabbed a screwdriver from my toolbox – my excuse for coming to the garage. I went into the house and found Maddie sitting in the middle of her bedroom floor with Sylvia, her favorite baby doll, resting in her arms. Maddie’s strawberry-blonde hair was the same as her mom’s, and I wondered if I would ever be able to braid it like my wife had done.

She stopped rocking Sylvia when she saw me. “Want to hold her, Daddy?”

I smiled. “Maybe later. Are you getting hungry?”

“I don’t want a hot dog.”

I chuckled, the sound startling me. “Me neither. Why don’t we go to town and get a pizza?”

Maddie smiled, revealing the tiny window where a front tooth had fallen out last week.

When we got back with a large cheese pizza, the house was completely dark. Quickly I turned on some lights and those on the Christmas tree. I couldn’t stand the darkness – there was enough of that inside of me already.

“Can we watch a Christmas movie, Daddy?”

She was the spitting image of my wife; those hazel eyes pleading to watch Christmas movies. I could hear my wife’s soft response in my ear, and I repeated it to Maddie:

“Only if you put on your PJs.”

She squealed, ran to her bedroom, and moments later, emerged wearing snowman footy PJs with Sylvia wearing the same.

“You have to wear yours, too, Daddy.”

“Maybe later. Why don’t you pick out the movie, and I’ll get us some milk to drink.”

After we finished eating a few slices of pizza and somewhere in the middle of Frosty the Snowman, Maddie fell asleep beside me on the couch – her head rested against my arm. Carefully, I scooped her up and carried her to her bed – it was one of a thousand moments that made my heart ache for my wife who loved tucking Maddie in at bedtime.

I pulled her covers up, turned on the nightlight, and quietly closed the door. I didn’t want to go back to the living room yet, so I went to our bedroom closet where Leslie had stashed some Christmas presents in a large garbage bag, those she’d already wrapped. I liked holding them, knowing her hands had been the last ones to touch whatever was underneath the red and green paper. I was sure there was a flannel shirt for me and an ornament for Maddie.

Every year, Leslie and I would pick out an ornament for Maddie, something she’d done or enjoyed that year. Last Christmas was the year she fell in love with eating ice cream from the cone, so of course we got her an ice cream cone ornament. This year, Leslie and I decided it should have something to do with dancing, although I hadn’t seen the ornament yet.

I returned the garbage bag to the back of the closet and opened my bottom dresser drawer where I hid Leslie’s gift.  I bought her a soft, red blanket because she was always cold and wanted nothing more than to cuddle on the couch and watch Christmas movies. It was folded and had a cardboard sleeve around it and snowflakes in all different sizes. Leslie would have loved it. I held it to my chest and lost it again, the blanket holding my tears and muffling my cries.

Christmas Eve, I sat beside Maddie in her velvety green dress and shiny black shoes, her feet dangling above the church floor. She’d begged me to take her, and I was glad I did. I found myself feeling closer to Leslie and when the choir sang “O Holy Night,” I found myself feeling closer to God, too. It had been years since I’d felt that way.

When we got home, Maddie kicked off her shoes and ran to her bedroom.

“I need to get Mommy’s present,” she yelled.

My heart hurt so much I thought I was having a heart attack. I took a few deep breaths and the pain went away. I braced myself for our little family tradition of opening one present each on Christmas Eve – the first tradition of many without my wife.

Maddie returned with two packages she’d wrapped with a little help from the Christmas Store helper at school. She handed me something skinny with a silver ribbon.

“I got this for you, Daddy.”

I knew better than to hesitate. When Maddie handed you a present and stared at you like she was holding her breath, it meant you needed to open it before she busted a lung.

I ripped off the ribbon and the paper. “It’s a tire pressure gauge,” I said. “Thank you.”

She jumped into my arms and kissed my cheek.

“Can I open Mommy’s for her?”

I didn’t know how she was handling it all so well. A lump had lodged in my throat so I nodded. She slid to the floor and shredded the Christmas tree paper.

I cleared my throat. “That’s a really nice candle you got for her.”

“It smells like coffee,” she said, sniffing it and smiling like this was the most natural thing in the world.

“Your mom would have loved…”

She jumped up. “Can I open mine?”

I was glad she interrupted me. The words seemed to stick in my throat like someone squeezed and held them there.

I nodded, went to the bag in the closet, and returned with a small package I was pretty sure was her ornament. Maddie stopped fiddling with my tire pressure gauge and clasped her hands together in front of her mouth like she could hardly contain her excitement – something her mom always did.

The gift barely left my hands before Maddie ripped off the paper.

“Wow,” she whispered.

Maddie held a snow globe ornament in her hands, staring into the tiny world like she could will herself to step into it. A girl wearing a long, silver dress and rosy cheeks stood in a field of snow with her head titled back and arms outstretched as if she were dancing.

Carefully, Maddie tipped it upside down, then right side up, and watched as the little flecks of white floated down, landing on the girl’s face.

Kisses from Heaven.

The thought startled me. I remembered the night I took Leslie to dinner while we were dating, and she stopped right in the middle of a crowd of people on the sidewalk when it started to snow. She stood there, looked up, and smiled. And when I asked her what she was doing, she’d said, “Someone is sending me kisses from Heaven, and I want to take them all in.” Funny, I’d forgotten about that until now.

“Daddy, don’t be sad,” Maddie said, noticing the tears I couldn’t stop. “People in snow globes aren’t stuck forever.”

I wiped my eyes. “What?”

“I used to be sad for the people stuck in snow globes, too. But Mommy said it’s like all of us on the earth. We’re sort of stuck here until Jesus says it’s our turn to go home. And Heaven is our real home. This is just where we have to stay for now.”

I nodded.

“Mommy said the earth can be pretty like a snow globe. But Heaven is going to be really, really pretty.”

It sounded like something my wife would have said.

“Daddy,” Maddie said, picking up Sylvia from the couch, “can Sylvia have some hot chocolate?”

“And watch a Christmas movie?” I asked.

She grinned and squeezed Sylvia.

While Maddie changed into her PJs, I retrieved the red blanket I’d gotten for Leslie. My heart began to ache again, knowing I would have given it to her tonight to cuddle with while we watched a Christmas movie. I decided to give it to Maddie to use, knowing Leslie would have loved the idea.

A Charlie Brown Christmas and two mugs of steaming hot chocolate were ready when Maddie flopped beside me in her PJs. I pulled the cardboard sleeve off the blanket and unfolded it, gasping when I realized there were words I hadn’t seen hidden in the folds.

“What does that say, Daddy?”

“I’ll be home for Christmas.”

Maddie smiled. “Mommy is home for Christmas. It was her turn to go home.”

I stared at my five-year-old. “How did you get to be so smart?”

“God. I talk to Him all the time.”

I smiled because I knew it had to be true.

“And He said you can talk to Him too, Daddy. He said He misses you more than you miss Mommy. He said He will help you not to be sad anymore. And He said you don’t have to be afraid of the dark. He’s going to bring you lots of light.”

I fought the tears, but they came anyway. “Did He say anything else?”

She nodded. “He said you should learn to cook something other than hot dogs.”

I laughed a real, honest-to-goodness laugh and it felt so freeing. And somehow, someway, I felt like my wife was with us, kissing my cheek and laughing too.

Waiting at the Screen Door

screen doorSometimes I build a wall of cement blocks around myself, keeping them at a comfortable height because I don’t want anyone to see me when I’m struggling, when I’m falling apart. I’d rather let you peek over the blocks to see my crazy curly hair or maybe I’ll give you a little wave to let you know I’m here.

The wall keeps me safe while I’m hurting. Without it, I’m completely vulnerable and that scares me.

But if you’re struggling, then staring at my cold wall with only a glimpse of curly locks or the palm of my hand isn’t going to do you any good. And I want to encourage you.

So today, I’ve hoisted the blocks aside. Please understand, those things are heavy and I certainly didn’t do it alone. I had to surrender the blocks to God. He is the only One who can really move them.

But that’s how much He loves you.

I believe He wants you to read something in my struggle, and I have no idea what that is but I’m trusting Him as I step beyond my protective pile of blocks to let you see me. The real, hurting me I usually hide:

Last week was a really rough one for me. I was beyond discouraged. I was severely depressed. I mean, a heavy darkness like I’ve never known before (and I’ve had some real doozies in the past). Oh sure, I reminded myself of the Scriptures I often share with others when they’re going through something similar. (Joshua 1:9 to be exact.) I put on a “happy face” when I needed to because it’s easier to do that than try to explain something like: “I hurt somewhere on the inside so deeply I can’t understand it. I know God is with me. I know the enemy is trying to steal my joy. But this is so heavy I can hardly move, can hardly take a deep breath. I can’t write. In fact, I don’t want to write. I can’t see clearly or hear God clearly. I’m crumbling, falling apart, crying myself to sleep etc. etc. etc.” Yes, it’s much easier to offer a little smile and retreat to my corner of the world behind my wall.

The discouragement came after I stepped out in faith and obeyed God by speaking to two different groups of women. I still smile when I think how God sometimes calls me to do that when He knows my heart and the fear I have of public speaking. I have a friend who laughed when I explained that to her. Her laughter still rings in my ears and brings a smile to my face. Only God can transform this little girl whimpering in the corner into a woman who can hold a microphone and speak of God without shaking. Only God can do that.

As I mentioned, the heaviness came after I obeyed God. My first thoughts were, I’m terrible at speaking. I didn’t do it right. I failed. I let God down. I let everyone down. (All of which came like flaming arrows, if you catch my drift.) My Father knows my heart and all my imperfections and He is the One who called me to speak, to tell His daughters how our struggles strengthen our faith. I’m sure He planned accordingly for my many shortcomings and stretched His strength to fill in my many, many weak spots.

But then came exhaustion; a total sense of feeling drained. Again, more thoughts like, See, you were just doing it in your own strength and you got it all wrong. If God called you to do it, He would have given you the strength to do it. You certainly failed Him. That was a whopper of a flaming arrow; a big fat lie. God did give me the strength to do it. There was no way I could have made it through that day of speaking without Him. Seriously. I had such peace all day long, even with arrows zooming by my head. It was days later when the exhaustion knocked me over.

Then FINALLY after days of falling asleep nearly every time I stopped moving, of trying to praise God in song, praying to Him and sobbing, breaking down and building a wall so high only God could see past it, God touched my broken heart, my wounded spirit while I rested. I woke up Saturday morning with a real smile and a song in my heart. Some of the words that beautifully played over and over in my heart: I press on.

But that’s not all. I saw something in my spirit: A screen door opening. I don’t know about you, but I often think (and write) about closed doors and waiting on God to open them. This screen door was exciting to see! And the more I thought about it, the more I began to praise God that it wasn’t a heavy, ironclad medieval contraption of a door like I often imaged. It was a screen door. You know, the kind that allows fresh air, the scent of lilacs, and the songs of the cutest little house wrens to flow right in.

While you and I have been waiting for God to open the door, His Holy Spirit has been flowing in to fill our spirits, overflowing and spilling into our hearts. The whole time! We’ve never been alone, just as God’s Word tells us.

So I learned when we’re waiting on God, we’re not staring at a rock solid door, our noses stuck to it as if we’re being punished. We’re staring through the mesh of a screen door at the horizon, getting glimpses of God and the wonderful promises He is working on for our lives. We get to smell the rain, hear the thunder, and appreciate His creativity blooming all around. We get every bit of that while the Holy Spirit, our wonderful Comforter, holds us and waits with us.

You see, God wants us to wait with Him while we’re waiting for Him. He wants us to talk to Him, cry out to Him, and REST with Him while He’s preparing to open that screen door for us.

That beautiful, creaking screen door that will open up our world to His will and His plan for our lives.

Can you see what’s out there? Can you look past the screen door, past the porch, beyond the horizon? Can you see all that God has for us?

Me neither! But I know my God, and I know it’s going to be jaw-dropping good.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV.)

“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Exodus 33:14 NIV.)

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NLT.)

 

Below the Surface

below the surface

There’s a great big world out there with a lot of people quietly suffering. On the surface we see the happy smiles and we hear the “I’m fine,” response when we ask how they’re doing.  But below the surface there is great pain.

Maybe this is you.  Maybe you get up in the morning and go about your day, while beyond those shallow areas of your life, those areas you let others get a glimpse of, you’re agonizing.  Maybe you feel like you’re drowning and no one cares.  Maybe you’re overwhelmed with illness or debt or violence or drugs.  Maybe you feel trapped in a relationship that brings you pain or maybe you feel locked into a situation you can’t break free from.

Let me tell you my friend, God sees you.  He not only sees the surface stuff you show the world, but He sees your heart.  He knows what’s keeping you up at night.  He knows what makes you cry when you’re in the shower.  He knows what steals your breath and your joy and what’s suffocating you right there in the middle of your life.  And He cares about you so deeply, reaching far below the surface.

God is the One who never leaves you or forgets about you.  He promises.  And He never lies and He never breaks a promise. Thank you, Lord.

You may hear all sorts of things as you go throughout your day.  You may hear that you’re a failure and you’ll never amount to much; this may be all in your own thoughts or literally from others.  Perhaps you’ll hear that it’s too late for you; you had your chance and you blew it and you’re beyond hope.  You may hear you’re all alone and you’re going to stay that way because you’re pathetic and really unlovable.  Or maybe you’ll hear that people in your life would be better off if you weren’t around.

Those are lies.  Every one of them.  Don’t try to make them “half” truths either.  Like, “Well I have failed so many times so maybe I won’t amount to much.”  Did you ever think that those “failures” are part of a greater design for you becoming YOU.  If you hadn’t “failed,” you’d keep going in that direction and perhaps that is not what God wants for you.  So He allows you to stumble a bit so when you regain your footing, you have time to see another path, another door opening that you never would have seen if you ran off in the wrong direction.  Is that failure?  Not hardly.

I don’t know exactly why God led me to write this or who this is for.  But God knows.  And He knows you my friend.  Trust that He sees your suffering all the way down to the very core.  With God in your life, you never suffer alone and suffering is only temporary when you consider an eternity of peace with Him.  You have an amazing hope to live for now and to look forward to.  Don’t let Satan or anyone else steal God’s promises from your heart.

And if you’re reading this and you’re not one who is suffering below the surface, please take a moment to pray for eyes that see and ears that hear that you may be aware of those around you who are suffering.  Maybe God will use you to wrap your arms around them and whisper, “God’s got you my friend.”

Yes.  God’s got you my friend.  Wherever you are in this great big world, I’m praying for you right now.  You are not alone.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.)

Running Out of Steam

full steam ahead

If you’re running out of steam, God may stop the train you’re on altogether.  He’s not doing it to punish you or hold you back.  He’s doing it to protect you.  He knows derailment can happen if you push forward too fast or out of sheer exhaustion.

As the train stops and sits idle, you feel antsy as if you’re wasting precious time staring out the window until God asks you to get off the train. He reaches out His hand to you and whispers, “Come to me.”

You take His hand, step down, and take a deep breath. Perhaps God wants you to look around because you may never pass this way again, and you don’t want to miss what He has for you in this very moment.

Maybe these tracks are leading you to something new, a new adventure with God, and you’re about to go through some major changes in your life.  Take a moment to relish the excitement, to hope.

Maybe it’s just been a long time since you’ve stepped away from the train to rest.  Take some time to catch your breath.  Breathe deeply.

Or perhaps the clinking of the wheels on the rails and the lonely echo of the whistle have been blocking out the still, small voice of God and He’s been trying to tell you something.  Take a moment to still your thoughts and listen for His voice.

As you’re holding His hand, standing a few feet from the tracks with the train at your back, relax.  The train is not going to leave without you. Focus on God.  Feel His hand gently holding your own.  Memorize the scent of autumn leaves mixing with the cold winter’s wind as it rushes to you from the horizon, the sunlight kissing your forehead.

Change is coming.  A new season is approaching.  Take it all in and cherish this time you have with God.

That’s why He stopped the train.  Not to discourage you or stop your momentum.  He simply wanted to take your hand and spend a little time with you.  He misses you when you’re rushing full steam ahead.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28 NIV.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Tragedy Strikes

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Mass shootings of innocent people. Horrific stabbings.  There is violence and death all around the world and for no known reason.  None of this makes any sense.  I hurt for the victims and their families.  I’ve only seen photographs, news reports.  I can’t even imagine the real pain they are going through.

Why did this happen? Why would a person do such a thing?  Why kill innocent people you don’t even know?

But this isn’t something we can understand with human reasoning. This is when we need God more than ever.  We need to lift up those in agony who’ve fallen to their knees, lift them up in prayer right into God’s arms.  And we need to run into His arms too and fall apart and cry.  We need His help to make sense out of all of this to avoid going crazy, to avoid losing hope, and to remind us that one day all of the ugliness, the cruelty, and the evil of this world will be gone.

There is something beautiful coming. Someone beautiful is coming soon.  Jesus.  We mustn’t lose hope.

Please, friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, remember that evil is very real and roaming freely around the world. We are seeing it every day.  We must remember that a spiritual war is taking place all around us.  We must stand firm in the armor of God.  We must stand together as warriors, alert and praying.

And we must reach out in love and continue to pray for those who have been wounded by that evil.

Heavenly Father, we need You. We need You to help those we can’t reach from where we are, those who are suffering at the hands of evil all around the world, Lord.  You see them right now.  They are not alone.  You are with them, Lord, and we ask that You would comfort them.  Please Lord, meet them in their most painful moments and hold them in Your arms.  Make Your very presence known to them so they may cling to You.

And Lord, we pray that You would make us warriors, strong in the faith and ready to stand against all evil that attack the innocence of this world. Help us to know Your Word in our very hearts and to speak it out loud, boldly.  Lord, we rebuke Satan and all of his demons in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  The enemy has no hold on us.  We are bought with the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help us to remember who we are, Lord, and that we are Yours. Lord, we love You and we thank You for Your love and Your faithfulness and Your power.  It’s in the precious and holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ we pray these things.  Amen.

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12 NLT.)

“In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.   Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:18 MSG.)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  (Revelation 21:1-4 NIV.)

 

 

There is Screaming in the World Today

screaming

This world can be a painful place.  Cancer is ravaging are loved ones.  Alzheimer’s attacks without mercy.  Heroin torments and often kills.  And children are suffering from hunger, neglect, and all sorts of horrific abuse.

Somewhere in all of this, there is screaming.

Can you hear it?  If you quiet yourself, you can.  Those suffering are screaming from the pit of their souls, crying out for help.  Just a touch or a word.  Something to give them hope that it will get better, that there is more to life than pain.

That’s where God comes in.  Only sometimes He chooses to use your hands to touch them, your mouth to encourage them, your time to spend with them, and your money to provide for them.

Are you letting Him?  Or are you keeping your mouth shut when you should speak up?  Are you keeping your hands, and the rest of you, so busy that God can’t possible use them or you? Or maybe you’re keeping your hands wrapped so tightly around your money that He can’t use that either.

“It’s mine,” you say as you dig your nails in deeper, forgetting that God is the One who blessed you with it.  “And I don’t have any time.  I’m too busy.”

So while you’re busy keeping quiet, busy holding on to your checkbook, someone else is screaming in God’s ear.

What does God see in all of this?  Everything of course.  He sees His children, one hurting and crying out for help while the other with a heart too hard, too stubborn and self-absorbed to help.

Which child are you?

There is so much screaming in the world today.

Are you one of them?

My dear friends, let me pray for you now:

Heavenly Father, You see those reading this, right now, right where they are. Father God, You are an amazing Father, so loving and so faithful.  I pray You reach them in whatever way You choose.  I pray You call upon those You want to use to bless them in their need, and I pray You help them to hear You and be obedient.  Lord, I pray You ease their suffering and You comfort them while they are alone, while they are in a crowd trying to put on a good face.  I pray You come along side of them, making Yourself so very real to them that they can’t help but know You even more through this pain.  Lord, I don’t know their needs.  But You, Almighty God, You know everything and NOTHING is too hard for YOU.  So I pray, Lord, for Your mighty hand to touch, to heal, to comfort, and to hold them.  And Lord, I pray You teach them through it all to call upon You.  That YOU are not ignoring their pain, that You see them when they cry, and that You are the One who can dry each tear they try to keep silent.  With you, Father, we are safe and loved and protected.  Please Lord, touch them now.  It’s in the precious, holy, and powerful name of your Son, Jesus Christ I pray these things.  Amen.

Perhaps your voice is not one screaming.

Surely you can hear those who are.  And surely you can help by allowing God to use your arms to hug someone discouraged, to speak encouragement and hope to someone struggling, to provide financially for a need, or to pray for someone suffering a physical devastation, linking them to the One who can comfort and heal.

Will you let God use you today?

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16 ESV.)

Below the Surface

below the surface

There’s a great big world out there with a lot of people quietly suffering. On the surface we see the happy smiles and we hear the “I’m fine,” response when we ask how they’re doing.  But below the surface there is great pain.

Maybe this is you.  Maybe you get up in the morning and go about your day, while beyond those shallow areas of your life, those areas you let others get a glimpse of, you’re agonizing.  Maybe you feel like you’re drowning and no one cares.  Maybe you’re overwhelmed with illness or debt or violence or drugs.  Maybe you feel trapped in a relationship that brings you pain or maybe you feel locked into a situation you can’t break free from.

Let me tell you my friend, God sees you.  He not only sees the surface stuff you show the world, but He sees your heart.  He knows what’s keeping you up at night.  He knows what makes you cry when you’re in the shower.  He knows what steals your breath and your joy and what’s suffocating you right there in the middle of your life.  And He cares about you so deeply, reaching far below the surface.

God is the One who never leaves you or forgets about you.  He promises.  And He never lies and He never breaks a promise. Thank you, Lord.

You may hear all sorts of things as you go throughout your day.  You may hear that you’re a failure and you’ll never amount to much; this may be all in your own thoughts or literally from others.  Perhaps you’ll hear that it’s too late for you; you had your chance and you blew it and you’re beyond hope.  You may hear you’re all alone and you’re going to stay that way because you’re pathetic and really unlovable.  Or maybe you’ll hear that people in your life would be better off if you weren’t around.

Those are lies.  Every one of them.  Don’t try to make them “half” truths either.  Like, “Well I have failed so many times so maybe I won’t amount to much.”  Did you ever think that those “failures” are part of a greater design for you becoming YOU.  If you hadn’t “failed,” you’d keep going in that direction and perhaps that is not what God wants for you.  So He allows you to stumble a bit so when you regain your footing, you have time to see another path, another door opening that you never would have seen if you ran off in the wrong direction.  Is that failure?  Not hardly.

I don’t know exactly why God led me to write this or who this is for.  But God knows.  And He knows you my friend.  Trust that He sees your suffering all the way down to the very core.  With God in your life, you never suffer alone and suffering is only temporary when you consider an eternity of peace with Him.  You have an amazing hope to live for now and to look forward to.  Don’t let Satan or anyone else steal God’s promises from your heart.

And if you’re reading this and you’re not one who is suffering below the surface, please take a moment to pray for eyes that see and ears that hear that you may be aware of those around you who are suffering.  Maybe God will use you to wrap your arms around them and whisper, “God’s got you my friend.”

Yes.  God’s got you my friend.  Wherever you are in this great big world, I’m praying for you right now.  You are not alone.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV.)