4 Strong Verses for Battling DOUBT

One of my biggest struggles (and I am probably not alone in this) is doubt. My lowest point of being in doubt was wrapped in this intense fear every morning that nothing would change. My situation wasn’t going to get any better. The thoughts would never go away. The battle would never end, or if it did I wouldn’t be the winner. The fear drives the thoughts and the thoughts drive the doubt and it continues on and on until you’re so stuck in that spiral you cannot see the way out.

It is still a problem for me, I still find myself in that hole on a regular basis. But the difference between today and several months ago is that I can see exactly how I got there. So what I am learning now is how to get out. Here are a few verses that have stuck with me and that God gently reminds me of when I feel trapped in that hole again (Emphases mine):

Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV “Because of the Lord’s great love we are NOT consumed, for his compassions NEVER fail. They are new EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness.”

Psalm 40:1-3 NIV “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a ROCK and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a NEW SONG in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

Romans 12:2 NIV “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING of your mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of POWER, love, and self-discipline.”

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Bring Joy to Strangers

My little guy is so happy almost all of the time, but he is especially happy around people. When we go out to the store, he watches everyone, smiling, waving, and saying “hi” as we pass. When he sees little kids he gets very excited and tries to talk to them. This is probably a common thing for most kids, and I am probably a little biased, but I think there is something unique about my son that I have noticed.

He picks people out.

One time in particular that I remember – I was having a bad day, feeling very isolated and lonely. So we went to the store to look. I pushed the cart around for awhile and finally deciding to head back out of the store, I pushed the cart to the front to put it away. We stood there for a second as I put his hat and gloves back on, when all of a sudden he flashed a huge smile and giggled. Not at me, but someone behind me, and much more enthusiastically than usual. I turned and there was an old woman using a walker standing on the other side next to the door with her handicapped adult son.

“Well, he’s a buster if I’ve ever seen one!” The woman yelled out. “Look at him, he’s smiling at my boy!” she told me. Her son standing next to her looked surprised, smiled back at him, and waved. We talked to them for a minute, said our goodbyes and went out to the car. But that moment stuck with me because he was so much more observant of the people around us than I was. I was there, feeling isolated and lonely, and he was there making friends.

His love for people fascinates me. He giggles and laughs to the lady in the wheelchair, and the tired-looking young woman. To the old man with a cane wearing a hat that says “Vietnam Veteran” and the employee working the cash register. He never had a “stranger danger” phase, he has always been friendly and (IF I let him!), would go to anyone. He has prompted the response, “you just made my day” more times than I can count.

I hope that he keeps this outlook because I believe it is one of the ways Christ calls us to love others. Most times I am too stuck in my own little world, feeling sorry about my situation and my life to see the people I am passing. Most times I am too awkward to start a conversation. But how often do I even look others in the eye? How many times do we see people in the store and purposely divert our attention so that we do not have to make eye contact? I’m not sure I want to know that answer. Especially when my almost one-year old does it boldly and on purpose. He is already challenging me to look up and outside of myself, and to give others the encouragement they need. Sometimes the answer to our loneliness is by reaching out to someone else, even a stranger.

Have Faith AND Trust

They say wisdom comes with age, but sometimes I wonder if we’re born with the kind of spirit God intends us to have, and with age comes doubt. Kids are so uninhibited most of the time. They’re not so nervous to say or do things we adults would never think of doing. Many times they have a unique and innocent view of the world that we could benefit from having, even just a little bit.

I am already seeing this in my son, who is not quite a year old. In the Christian church there are no baby baptisms, but rather dedications. Parents dedicate themselves to seek after God and trust in Him while raising their children, doing their best to teach their kids to do the same. We did this with our son when he was a newborn and one of the hopes we have for his life is that he will not be afraid of life, or anything in it because he will trust in the Lord to guide his steps. But so far he is teaching me, more than I am teaching him.

His personality is already showing his fearlessness. When he was about nine or ten months old we had a highchair that was like a booster seat with a tray on it. It only had a buckle to keep him from sliding out. The first time I reached to take him out of it he jumped from the seat and directly into my arms. After a moment of panic and then seeing that he was just fine and had even been laughing when he jumped, I gave him a hug and set him on the floor.

Every time after that, we went through the same routine. We eventually got a different highchair with better restraints (thank goodness!), but at some point before then I realized that he was extremely trusting and unafraid. He would leap blindly from that chair, trusting that I would catch him every time. What an awesome lesson to apply to our relationship with God. We talk about taking a leap of faith, but I don’t think we always trust that God will catch us. What would happen if we had this kind of childlike faith?

It got me thinking about what kinds of things I would change. What I would say or do that would be different if I truly trusted and made the decision to take a leap, or even just a step, in faith? It was a great reminder of all of the times God promises to take care of us, if we trust Him. When I am able to joyfully take that leap, trusting God to catch me, an amazing sense of freedom is experienced, in letting go of worry and holding on to Him.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” – Isaiah 26:4

Get Rid of That JUNK

The “Spring Cleaning” fever seems to hit me year-round. After a few months of not being able to find things, or forgetting the things in my to-do pile and not enough time to deep clean regularly, I get antsy and frustrated. I get to the point where I’m ready to ship it all off to Goodwill! So I start in with the purging.

With high expectations of emptying shelves and creating more space, I begin with a closet, or a drawer. Soon I’m moving on to the next over-packed area, and the next. Gaining momentum and getting excited, I glance back at my “get rid of” pile.” It is usually at this point that I realize with disappointment, it’s not as big as I had hoped. Just a few things sit by the front door, ready to make their exit.

“Why do we have so much stuff?” the question crosses my mind.

I thought that we didn’t need those things, but as I sorted through the boxes and the Rubbermaid totes, I saw all of the things I didn’t want to part with. The stuff we can’t live without after all. The baby clothes, and the photos. The assorted kitchen utensils that we use a few times a year, and the pretty punch bowls (yes, TWO!) that I love having a party for as an excuse to use them. The old childhood toys go back into their storage containers and the piles of scrap fabric, yarn, scrapbook paper, and several colors of thread and ribbon are folded, wrapped, and sorted because you “never know when you might need it.”

What started out as a day of emptying, often becomes a day of organizing. It’s more about making all the stuff look neat and orderly. And less about living on less. Continue reading

Monday Morning Mom: From Fearful to Fearless

This site, along with Snazzy Artables will soon be Monday Morning Mom. The focus will be geared toward encouragement for moms. Follow me on facebook for daily posts>> Monday Morning Mom on Facebook

My husband and I wanted to have kids, but we waited for awhile since I was still in college when we got married. When we finally did start seriously thinking about it, it still seemed surreal to me. And one year, and several boxes of pregnancy tests later, we were pregnant with our son. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that he is our kid, and that I’m not just babysitting 24 hours a day. It still seems like a dream.

Motherhood has been a strange and wonderful journey for me. Honestly, it has been a struggle. I mean seriously, what mom can’t say that being a parent isn’t hard work? But for me, it has been difficult in other ways as well. Continue reading

Resolutions and Perfectionism

I don’t know about you all, but Christmas has got me feeling a little bit over-indulgent. Funny how New Years and resolutions come right after the holidays. I don’t think that is such a coincidence. After a few months of more sweets, more gifts, more parties and shopping, everyone is ready for less. Diets, spring-cleaning, and creating a better financial plan so “that doesn’t happen again next year,” become the focus.

I have to say we are guilty of all of those resolutions for the New Year. We’re going back to the Paleo diet, we created a new budget, and I spent the day after Christmas “purging” our closets. But while I have high expectations for 2014, I know that we’ll stray from eating right all of the time and have to get back on track. I know we’ll buy something frivolous only to regret it later. I know that my idea of purging is getting rid of 70% of our stuff, but I’ll only get rid of 5%, and I’m getting better at being okay with that. Continue reading