A New Song

God has been doing something new in me.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading Scripture as I listen and then, I listen again. Really listen. I wait for the Holy Spirit to lead me in writing and then it comes in waves, flooding and saturating me.

I’ve been sharing these posts on social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and on my other website.

Some mornings are amazing.

Other mornings have been painful as I write from a place of pain. Let me explain.

I’ve been struggling physically with jaw pain. It seems when I fell in the shower years ago that I did a real number on my face. Anyway, it hurts to chew and…it hurts to talk.

This is no easy task for me, not talking, since I talk all the time. All. The. Time.

I realized at church on Sunday that I also can’t lift my voice to the Lord like I want. Singing was excruciating. I did it anyway (the best I could) and cried when I couldn’t.

Fast forward into Monday, and I found myself in the middle of a spiritual battle. I mean from every angle. It was one of the darkest days of my life. Pain and discouragement felt like a dark dungeon to me.

That morning I didn’t know how I could possibly write anything. I needed help. I NEEDED prayer.

I was bawling on the floor in our living room, the pain in my jaw excruciating and matching the pain in my lower back – I’d hurt myself the week before while lifting our mattress.

So, I wrote a post for others about needing others. But I knew God was using it to speak to me too. I quickly sent a few texts and made a call and asked others to pray for me.

And I felt every prayer lighten the load, the physical pain, and the darkness of discouragement. Every single prayer helped.

And later that night when I got in the shower, I knew I couldn’t sing because of the pain in my jaw, but I realized I could still hum.

I hummed “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” while I was in the shower. The warm water soothed my back and jaw, but it was that song coming from within me that soothed my aching spirit.

And today I’m moving forward with that song tucked in my heart. Yes, I have to be quiet today. But I can hear that song – I can listen to it. All. Day. Long.

If you’re struggling, my friend, cry out to God while you’re lying there on the floor. Don’t hesitate for a minute to ask others to pray for you. The enemy may be ruthless, but because of the blood of Jesus Christ…

You are victorious!

Let God fill your heart with a new song as you sing from a place of victory.

“Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”

Isaiah 12:5 NIV.

“But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”

Psalm 13:5-6 NIV.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 40:3 NIV.

When Christmas Hurts

 

I remember standing in the cemetery at Grandpa’s funeral on a cold December day. The wind was bitter and my soul hurt beyond words. How could I possibly be joyful days later? My grandpa, the one who took me fishing, bike riding, and introduced me to church, was gone from my world.

Sometimes Christmas hurts. It seems like the whole world is celebrating while we feel completely removed. Alone.

There are times when relationships in our lives have been strained, even cease to exist, and we are reminded of it at Christmas when we reflect on the year that’s gone by.

Loneliness can strike harder than usual. It seems families and friends are gathering, and you’re alone in the corner while the whole world is celebrating.

It seems this way. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Christmas is personal. It’s between you and Jesus Christ. If you want to bring others into it, to love and share with them, that’s fine.

But my friend, don’t let the struggles of failed or strained relationships, the loss of someone you love, or even the looming darkness of loneliness steal the joy that is yours.

Joy is waiting for you because Jesus Christ is waiting for you to spend time with Him.

Remember when Jesus was visiting Martha and her sister Mary? (Luke 10:38-42.) Martha was distracted, worried, and upset about so many things that she failed to see her sister was fulfilling a greater need and desire of her heart.

Mary was spending time with Jesus. Sitting at His feet. Listening to Him.

It’s no wonder the enemy tries to distract and discourage so many during the Christmas season (sometimes with all the preparations just like Martha) as we reflect on Jesus. Satan will distract you with past hurts, current struggles, pain and loss. He will magnify it like holding a magnifying glass in the sunlight to destroy a bunch of ants.

Let God be magnified in your heart. Let Him swell and fill those hurting places. Give Him the room to stretch through every part of your life. And allow yourself the time to sit at the feet of your Savior. Allow moments of stillness and prayer to draw you closer to Him.

Perhaps you could step outside after your corner of the world has gone to sleep. Gaze upon the stars. Remember the mighty One who knows each one of those stars by name knows you. He knows everything about you. He knows why you’re struggling, who hurt you, who you’re missing. Remember, He sees every tear you cry.

There are painful times in all of our lives—we live in a fallen world. But don’t let them become the focus during this miraculous season.

Don’t give the enemy control of your focus. Don’t give him the magnifying glass so he can destroy this moment in your life.

Turn away from the enemy’s lies. Rebuke Satan out loud in the name of Jesus Christ. Use your voice and take authority over the enemy.

And let Jesus Christ be your focus.

Think about the light piercing the dark night when the angel appeared, when the heavenly multitude showed up praising God (Read Luke 2:8-20). Imagine how the earth must have trembled with joy at the appearance of the One who came to save. Can you feel the shaking in your own spirit? Can you imagine rushing as a shepherd, your heart pounding, your legs feeling numb as if you’re flying, to find the baby just like the angels proclaimed? What joy your heart would feel! To be a part of this. To be included in this moment in history.

You can have a moment like this right now. Reflect and think about it. Focus and pray and put yourself in the Scripture. Let that night encompass your heart in the miracle that is Jesus Christ. Let the light of that night break through the darkness of your suffering.

It is very personal.

Jesus left all of His majestic glory behind for you. He suffered greatly for you. He is coming back for you.

If you’re hurting and the burden is too heavy, sit with Jesus in prayer and give it to Him. Listen for the sweet voice of our Lord. Wait for the Comforter to bring you peace that makes no sense to your human reasoning but is exactly what your fragile heart needs.

He will be there for you. Cry out to Him. Whisper His name.

Jesus Christ. Savior. The One we celebrate at Christmas.

You can celebrate. Deeply. In your heart. With Jesus. Just the two of you.

What a special Christmas this can be for you.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 NIV.)

God Is Coming for You

God hasn’t forgotten you. In the middle of the storms raging in the world today, God still hears the quiet prayers of those calling out to Him. He still hears the tiniest of whispers calling out His name.

I believe He is listening for your voice. Today. Right now.

The enemy is going to try to magnify the darkness of the world, making it seem so large that you, your concerns, get swallowed up—like you’re whispering  into hurricane winds and your voice is too weak, small. You can shout, but no one will hear.

Satan wants you to lose all hope. He wants you to give up. Stop praying. Stop trying. Just give in. It’s useless. The world is one big mess, and you’re just one person. You can’t do anything to fix your own problems let alone the massive struggles of the world. Besides, God isn’t really listening to you and your little voice.

Rubbish. All of it.

God hears His children. Always. He never sleeps, so on those nights you can’t sleep, He calls you to curl up next to Him in the living room. When you’re in a meeting or in the middle of a conversation and you are in desperate need of guidance, God hears the silent prayers of your heart.

And when you are on your knees, sobbing into the carpet or standing during a church service and the tears are reaching clear down your neck, God stands beside you.

He sees the walls you’re trying to build again.  He knows why you built them before. He wants you to trust Him. Hand Him the bricks.

My dear friend, God is coming for you. He is going to rescue you. He is still the God of godly surprises and mighty rescues. Don’t think for even a minute that He doesn’t know how to reach you or how to get through to you. He created you. He knows you better than you know you.

He may come for you through the words of someone you haven’t seen in a long time—words that leave you standing in awe with more tears coming because you’ll see God has not forgotten you.

He may come for you through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit—speaking to you through your own mouth and the words He gives you. He may reach out to you from the pages of His Word—helping you to hear His voice clearer than before with eternal hope staring at you from words so profound and true they leave you trembling.

Or perhaps He will come for you, to love you and remind you He’s never going to leave you, through this very blog—so you will know His children are still out there in the world, in the storm, battling the darkness.

They are fighting for truth, for light, and for you. And more importantly:

God is fighting for you.

You are not alone. God is coming for you. Hold on.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV.)

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Hebrews 10:35-37 NIV.)

Photo from pexels.com.

Pruning

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When God prunes something or even someone from our lives, it hurts. We may wonder where we went wrong or why He’s doing it. We may try to ignore it and keep pushing forward with our own agendas or what others have told us. We may think we’re misunderstanding what’s happening, that God would never prune that so there must be something else going on.

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of things He’s been pruning, wondering if there is going to be anything left of me when He’s done. I’ve cried out to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment, knowing He is the only One who can really help me to understand what’s happening.

I’m learning through my own experiences the two reasons why God prunes things from my life:

Growth.

Protection.

Maybe this seems obvious to you, but I’m a little slow and sometimes I need God to teach me something more than once so I can “get it.” (I’m so thankful He’s patient!)

I find myself begging God to leave certain things and crying when He gently makes a few snips and cuts here and there as those things fall away.

To my human eye, I can’t see the reasoning behind it.

But I know better than to trust my own reasoning. (The mess I would be in today if I trusted me instead of Him! The very thought makes me cringe.)

Here’s an example: I thought I was supposed to start a business last year designing graphic art to inspire and encourage others. So I did.

But God trimmed that right out of my life not long after it was up and running.

Today, I am thankful. I have more time to do what He’s called me to do: take care of my family and write.

But when He first did it, I didn’t understand. The designs I created were encouraging people to turn to Him. How could that be bad?

I realized if it’s not God’s will for my life, then I shouldn’t be doing it because it takes the nourishment and sunlight away from what He is trying to grow in my life. No matter how those grapes might appear to me on the branch, if it isn’t what He has in mind, He’s going to snip it.

IF I surrender those pruning shears to Him.

Oh sure, I could have been stubborn and kept going with that little business. But I know it would have put a strain on my family and my writing.

And ultimately my relationship with God would have suffered because I would have pulled away from Him as I hid those shears in my hands.

Instead, I allowed Him to trim that business away just as I’m allowing Him to trim things from my life today.

Does it hurt? It sure does.

But the best way to grow closer to Him is to allow Him to clear away those excess things, those distractions, those toxic relationships, and anything that will harm us. Anything that hinders our growth.

And He will snip at those things we were not created to do. (Me? It’s cooking for large crowds. Oh, I get by for our little family, but it’s not pretty!)

When we allow God to prune those things out of our lives, we are allowing more of Him, more of His light to flood into our lives to produce the fruit He intended all along.

God-honoring fruit that will last.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV.)

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15:16a NIV.)

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10 NIV.)

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up on God

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Are you broken or wounded? Has someone hurt you so deeply that you don’t know how to move forward? Maybe you even feel like giving up on God because you feel like He’s already given up on you.

Oh, precious soul, if I could take you in my arms and hug you today, I would. I would whisper that it’s going to be okay, that you’re going to get through this. I may not understand what you’re going through, what tragedies or suffering you dealt with in the past, but God does.

But maybe God is part of your pain. Maybe you believe that God is somehow a reflection of the cruelty of others, especially if you’ve been hurt by someone in the Church.

Unfortunately, there are times when His children, being human, fail to reflect His love and compassion. There are even those who claim to be Christians while lashing out at others. (When “Christians” Throw Stones.)

Please don’t take this out on God and walk away from Him.

I believe God is calling to you during this time of isolation and wants to heal your broken heart.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV.)

I believe in the depths of my spirit that this is the time He’s reaching out to you, through this post, through quiet times at home or in your backyard, through a word from someone you know.

He wants to take you in His arms and hold you. He jealously longs for you. He knows how people have failed you, how their words have cut into your heart, hardening it like scar tissue.

Please don’t turn away from Him.

I don’t know the “why” to your questions. I don’t know why you suffered or struggled, why you felt abandoned or hopeless. I don’t know why others hurt you the way they did.

But I can tell you I’ve been hurt too. And in the darkest moments of my life, when others struck me with the cruelest of words, turning their backs on me and abandoning me in my pain, God never left me.

He may have been quiet, but He was still there.

“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5b NLT.)

I believe He was silent during those times because I was either shouting within my spirit and couldn’t hear Him over my pain, or He was quietly joining me in my suffering. (You know, those times when someone you love is suffering and the pain is so unbearable you can’t speak a word but instead you sit beside them hoping to bring them comfort. I believe God does that too.)

When you hurt, God hurts with you.

And I believe no matter how dark the storm, no matter how the waters rage, God will reach right through it all to grab onto you, to save you, to steady you until the storm passes.

Perhaps He will lift you from the storm, lifting you high above those things that are hurting you.

But maybe He won’t, instead choosing to pull you closer to Him as He endures the storm alongside of you, shielding you and singing to you so you’ll focus on Him instead of the howling winds.

You may consider giving up on God. Please don’t. Don’t give up on Him. He promises He will never give up on you. Never.

Come back to Him. Cry out to Him. Call upon Him. Whisper His name.

Jesus.

And He’s right there with you. Strong, solid, and forever. Loving you completely and helping you to move forward.

“God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master, Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9 MSG, emphasis my own.)

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.(Luke 18:1 NLT, emphasis my own.)

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8: 35, 37-39 MSG.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

Isolation, Depression, and Hope

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For years I’ve been fascinated with tiny houses and how the kitchen table lowers from the ceiling or how the staircase can hide against the wall like a bookshelf. I’ve seen the shows, even visited small structures and imagined trying to live in one.

One day I hope to have one, not necessarily to live in one unless I want to live alone since my husband gets claustrophobic and doesn’t like the idea of climbing a ladder to go to bed, and frankly, I can’t say I blame him. But I would love to own a tiny house or “she shed” as my own little writer’s nook.

I could decorate it in all things Christmas, leaving a tree in the corner all year long. I would string white lights in the rafters and have a tiny fireplace in the corner. It would be my escape, my Christmas wonderland, inspiring Christmas tales I’d tap out on my laptop while the coffeepot gurgled in the corner.

I’d play songs by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and tuck Christmas books on the shelves, leaving a special place for “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern which became one of my all-time favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’d throw a furry rug on the floor and fill the space with the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, of course, and the scent of spiced apple.

I get so excited daydreaming about it (as you can tell!). And I hope one day that daydream will become a tiny, lovely reality in our backyard.

Having hope is so important in the world we are living in today, especially when we’re all homebound for the duration of the coronavirus.

We may have to stay put in our houses or in our yards, but our minds are free to soar and fixate on whatever we choose.

Me? I choose God. I choose to have hope in Him when everything else is screaming at me that I need to be anxious and afraid. I’m choosing to believe the promise that Jesus is preparing a place for me in heaven, and He will come back for me. And I’m looking forward to it.

Having hope in the promises of God brings my mind peace at a time when depression, like a venomous spider hiding in a dark corner, threatens to bite.

Not many people know this about me, but when I was in college, I was treated by a counselor for clinical depression.

Depression was like that awful spider and its web covered my thoughts, keeping me from having hope. I felt alone. Isolated. I had no joy. I felt numb and yet deep pain all at the same time. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. And when I was awake, all I wanted to do was cry.

It was an awful place.

Years later when I quit my job to stay at home with our daughter, depression tried to attack me again. I was more isolated than what I was used to and I would sob at the back corner of our yard where my husband and daughter couldn’t see me.

But God saw me.

And He sees you too. If you’re struggling during this period of isolation, with the “culture shock” of staying at home for days and weeks at a time, please call out to God, reach out to family and friends. Seriously, reach out! You do not have to suffer, and you do not need to go through it alone.

When you’re feeling alone, that’s when the enemy will lie and tell you all sorts of nonsense.

Here’s the truth: God will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). You don’t need to be afraid or discouraged because God is with you (Joshua 1:9). You were created for a purpose and God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).

You are not alone, my friend, and your mind is free to soar even if you feel stuck in your living room. So go ahead and let your mind visit Christmas songs and tiny houses, far away dream vacations, and future plans.

You can, and should, think about lovely things (Philippians 4:8).

And let your mind stay fixed on God and His promises. He has given you His Holy Spirit, so you are NEVER alone. You have eternal hope in Jesus Christ, and He is preparing a place for you. And your place is going to be so much better than anything this world has to offer.

It’s going to be even better than a Christmas tiny house. 😉

“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 43:5 NIV.)

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5 NIV.)

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:1-6 NIV.)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

 

 

Forgotten and Ignored

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Have you ever felt forgotten or ignored? Maybe you’ve been passed over or pushed off to the back burner like you’re an old pan and your contents, well, they’re not that important so it won’t matter if they grow cold.

Other things come first. That is, until you’re needed. Then you’re called upon and pulled to the front of the stove with a strong tug. You’re given attention and great care. All of a sudden you matter. All of a sudden you’re not invisible anymore.

But you hold your breath because you know it’s going to happen again. It’s a cycle you’ve come to expect.

You’re called upon when you’re needed but not when you’re in need.

When you’re in need, you suffer quietly. Alone. You pray someone will reach out, that someone will answer your call. You hope someone will send you a word of encouragement because you’re fresh out and you’re struggling just to get through the day. So you push through and keep going.

Your schedule keeps you busy, sometimes too busy. No one knows all you try to accomplish in a single day, all the demands you try to meet, and all those you try to help because God has tucked their pictures gently into the folds of your heart. And you want to help, you want to be there. You really do.

But today, you’re empty. You’re like a lone bench abandoned in the snow. Waiting and hoping for God to rescue you because you know He will. He always does. Thank you, Lord.

But why is this awful feeling of dejection lingering so long this time? Where is God and why is He taking so long? While you’re waiting, you ask Him to teach you through it; to bring something good from all of this.

He reminds you of your daily prayer: More of You, Lord. I want more of You.

You find yourself getting mad. What sort of answer is buried in all this pain?

You begin to realize having more of God means being more like Jesus and walking in His footsteps, including some of those that bring pain.

Jesus felt every bit of what you’re feeling right now and so much more.

He was abandoned by those closest to Him, ignored, pushed aside, and forgotten. (Isn’t this happening a lot today?) But when there was a need, people flocked to Him.

Experiencing loneliness and abandonment softens your heart. Not right away, of course. At first you strike out in anger (or pull back in tears) and you try to stop giving and you try to stop caring. You try to harden your heart. But God won’t hear of it.

Why?

He wants your heart to be malleable to His touch (and His alone) so He can use you and your pain to reach out in a very real way. You see, when your heart has been beaten, it becomes so tender that you not only sympathize with those who feel invisible and those who are ignored, but you empathize. You feel their pain and you understand their suffering because you’ve been there.

And when you reach out to them, they see it. They know you’ve been there. And they see God in you. (So in a sense, your suffering draws them closer to God.)

And YOU get to see your Savior more clearly, understanding a little more of what He went through to come and love you right where you are today.

“He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.” (Isaiah 53:3 MSG.)

“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:20-21 ESV.)

Trust: After You’ve Been Hurt

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If you’ve ever been hurt before, you know how hard it can be to trust again. You wonder if there’s another devastating blow around the corner, another crushing moment if you open yourself up again.

You’ve been burned and you’re not sure how to come back from it, how to recover anything good from the pile of ashes.

My friend, God sees the remnants. He sees what you think is hopeless. He sees the thick layers of anger and regret. He wants to peel those away, stop the bitterness from burrowing deeper into you, and bring something good, something powerful from all of this.

It may not be what you envisioned. It may not be where you imagined He would direct you. All He asks is for you to trust Him and follow His lead.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Trusting.

Your heavenly Father understands. The day you were hurt, He was hurt too. When you fell apart, when the careless words pierced you, when everyone else left you to deal with it alone, He was the One who stayed with you. He never left your side.

God wants to lift you up. He wants to heal your brokenness. He wants to bind your wounds and restore your joy. He wants you to laugh until your tears flow and your side aches.

He wants to bring you back. Back to the life He’s always planned for you. Back to the life He created just for you before you took a wrong turn, before you listened to everyone else but Him, and before your spirit was crushed.

God wants to bring you back to the place where you can breathe again, sleep at night, and feel close to Him. He doesn’t want your fear of trusting to affect your relationship with Him. He has never let you down, and He’s not about to start now.

Letting you down or giving up on you is not in His character.

But loving you more deeply than you can understand and never leaving your side…not only is that the very nature of His character, but it’s what He does.

That’s a truth you can trust.

So let go. Let go of the past. Let God peel away those thick layers of anger and regret you’ve been using as a shield to block the world from hurting you again.

And let God in.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NIV.)

“Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20b NIV.)

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV.)

When a Blessing Hurts

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Has someone ever blessed you with a slow cooker full of food when you were in need? Or maybe you received an envelope with your name scribbled on it, the handwriting unrecognizable and a little money tucked inside?

Perhaps the man behind you in line at the store paid for some of your groceries, those you were embarrassed to admit exceeded the amount of money in your checking account. Or maybe someone offered to babysit your child when you needed a moment to catch your breath or give you a ride when your car was on the fritz.

What did you do with that blessing? Were you thankful?

Or did you cringe at the idea of accepting their gift? Did it settle in your stomach like a bunch of rocks? You didn’t want to take it. You just couldn’t accept it, but…

You’d been crying out to God for help, and there it was. Perhaps it wasn’t the way you expected Him to help. And overall, you felt terrible and wondered how a gift, a blessing could actually hurt.

Blessings hurt when they don’t fit our standards of what we’re comfortable receiving. When Pride shows up on the scene demanding he’s in charge.

Think of it this way: Someone gives you a beautiful painting, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Pride walks in with a scowl on his face, picks up a can of orange paint, and splatters it across the painting. Then he reaches for another can…

If you let him, Pride will ruin the blessing.

And a blessing like that is a gift. It has nothing to do with your worth. It’s a gift to you from your Heavenly Father (and the lovely vessel He chose to use). It wasn’t something you earned. It wasn’t something you had to repay. It wasn’t something to hurry up and get rid of like a hot potato in your hand because Pride was as comfortable as wearing a sweater in the middle of a hot summer day. (Did I mention the sweater was one from grade school?)

Let Pride squirm in his tight and itchy sweater. Let him sulk, get mad, and try to make you feel guilty.

Elbow Pride out of your way and don’t waste your time trying to argue with him. His older brother, Stubborn, has taught him a thing or two, and he won’t give up so easily. Save your breath.

Besides, you’ve got more important things to do. You can start by thanking the person God used to bless you (perhaps you saw a glimpse of your Father in that person’s eyes – a double blessing for you!).

You can praise God for His hand in your life, for the way He chose to help you. (It was a surprise, wasn’t it?)

And then you can start praying God will bless that person in ways you never could, in ways you can’t even imagine.

You can also pray He will use you like that someday.  What an honor, a humbling experience to be used by God Almighty to shine His light on someone who’s been crying out to Him.

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV.)

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT.)