The Struggle is Real

If God is for us, who can be against us?  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:31, 38-39

When my phone rang, I answered it quickly because I knew the caller was scheduled to be in a meeting & unavailable for hours.  The voice I heard on the other end of the line was shaky & gave me the news that someone very dear in my family’s life had died unexpectedly that morning.  My loved one was gone without warning.

This life is so fleeting and there are so many struggles on a daily, constant basis that if I don’t focus on Jesus and His reality, I will be crushed beneath the weight of the world.

While my struggle with the news of a death in the family & others we face constantly are very real, when we keep our eyes on the Rock of our souls, He becomes more real than our circumstances & He shows us what the real struggle is. 

There are so many things in life that push us down.   Death, divorce, job loss, sickness, broken relationships, just dealing with the stress of a whining child all day can be the last straw to break us.  But the real struggle of it all is when we begin to let the weight of our situation be bigger than our Father. 

There is a saying used in the fitness community:  “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe.”  When thinking of a healthy body, this would point out the importance of a strong core for stability in every other movement of the body.  But think about this in the realm of the stability of our soul.  We cannot handle life when our spiritual core is not strong in Christ.  If we are not strong in the depth of what we believe about our Father & about who we are in Him, then we will be unstable when the hard things of life come.  

We will not be able to trust in God’s good plan for our life if we don’t believe that He is bigger than what we struggle with.  How can we even take the first step to run to Him for shelter when we think He is allowing things in our life that are un-loving?

Through seeking His perfect love instead of a perfect life God will give us comfort in our trying times.  We cannot seek Him only for how He can fix all of our problems.  When we look to Him for who He is in our lives not just what He can do in our lives, then His power & grace begin to flow freely to us.  When we Praise Him for who He is & when we are grateful for who He is, then

His grace fills in the gaping hole of pain. 

Our struggles are a tool that can put His glory on display.  Being a believer, doesn’t give us immunity from struggles in life; being a believer gives us access to the power that can defeat our struggle.    

Here are 3 things that help me when I am burdened by a struggle:

·      Put on the whole armor of God ~  When I think clearly about what God offers me to stand against the attacks of the enemy I remember that He has made me strong through the power he has given me in Jesus {Ephesians 6:10-14}

·      Walk in the character of Jesus ~ Jesus was never afraid because He knew who He was & who His Father was.  When I remember my identity as a child of God, I have no need to fear {Matthew 3:17}

·      Praise God for His blessings ~ When I start to focus on God’s blessings in my life, my tunnel vision of struggle diminishes.  It is impossible to be overwhelmed by the world when I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness in my life {Philippians 4:4-7}

There is a battle waging against us on all sides, but when we trust in our God & His unfailing love for us, we will not be shaken in the struggle. 

The struggle is real but the power of God can defeat our real struggle.   

Can you rest in the fact that God is big enough to handle your struggle?  Do you believe He still loves you even when things are difficult?  What is your next step in trusting the LORD with your current struggle?

Love, Cara

I'm in the Lord's Army

Some trust in chariots & some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  Psalm 20:7

I was sitting close to the front of the airplane in an aisle seat so I saw the young woman walk on to the plane.  Her face was all splotchy; like she had been crying hard & as she got closer to me it was apparent that tears still flooded her eyes.  She got to my row & motioned that the seat next to me belonged to her.  She was wearing a blue t-shirt & denim shorts so I didn’t realize until she sat down that she was carrying a U.S. Army issued backpack.  Then it all made sense.  She was leaving the people she loved.  I leaned over & quietly said, “I’m here for the next 3 hours if you need me”.  She nodded but spoke no words, as I’m sure the lump in her throat pushed them down.  She quickly put in some earphones & proceeded to listen to music. 

The next 3 hours we sat side by side & she never said anything but occasionally she would cry.  My mind didn’t stop for the whole plane ride back home & I began to pray that the Lord would let me minister to this young girl in some way. 

As we began our descent for landing I knew I would have to seize my moment or it would never happen.  So I tapped her on the shoulder & she took out her earphones. I asked her name & where she was going.  Her response, “I’ve got to catch a connection in Dallas & tomorrow I’ll go over the pond”.  It was her way of letting me know she was being deployed.  She told me it was her 5th time to go overseas & it never got easier to leave her people. 

I told her I was so sorry for the hurt in her heart & that my family & I were so thankful for her sacrifice.  I told her we knew it was difficult and how much we appreciated her.  Then I said the only thing I could ~ 

“can I pray for you?” 

“Yes, please.” The words sounded as though the offer were a lifeline to her soul.  We grabbed hands & I prayed, then we hugged as though we had known each other for years.  It was all I could do to slightly ease her pain.  I knew if I could give her Jesus for a moment, peace would fall on her & give her some reprieve from her pain. 

We went our separate ways but I knew that night I was deployed to be in the Lord’s army.  I use to sing the song when I was little…

I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, I may never zoom 'ore the enemy, but I'm in the Lord's army!

The sacrifice of our U.S. military is great.  In fact members of my own family have served & given all to protect our freedom, but God calls us to be soldiers for Him.  Looking for every opportunity to squelch the enemy.  Colossians {4:2-6} tells us to “continue earnestly in prayer, praying that God would open a door to speak the mystery of Christ & to walk in wisdom & redeem the time toward those who are on the outside”.

That night a prayer to the good Father eased the pain.  Other times we may be called to bring peace, hope or life to a situation where the enemy is trying to cloud it with darkness. 

This one thing we can be sure of,

freedom in the Lord depends on our faith to act where He leads us. 

The little things He calls us to do for His kingdom build a greater faith that will carry us to victory for eternity. 

Where is God calling you to serve him as a soldier for His eternal kingdom?  Is there someone in your life who needs you to do spiritual battle for him or her today?

Love, Cara