My heart is heavy. Someone knotted a boulder to it, jarred my ribs and I’m free falling from a 747. To make matters worse, I’m acrophobic.
Ever feel like you’re bungee jumping without a cord? Like your death grip is slipping from a trapeze bar and there’s no safety net below? Your future looks as appealing as that dark, cold cement you’re plummeting smack dab into. It’s not a pretty picture.
Oh, yes, I’ve been there, one too many times. In fact, my world is swirling around me with each keystroke. Hope feels as miniscule and out of reach as that unattached parachute.
Ironically, I was asked to write an encouragement letter to my Bible study sisters this week. ‘I’m the one who needs encouragement!” The woe-is-me victim shouts. ‘I’m too burdened,’ not only with the needs and prayer requests of others, but for my own life as well. How do I write an encouragement letter when Debbie Downer has Susie Sunshine in a chokehold? How can I overflow to others when my well is empty and dry? How can I help mend another’s heart when mine feels shattered and broken to bits? I need someone to mop up my mess, not the other way around.
It has become so clear to me lately: Oh, how we all need and crave encouragement!
Friends, let’s not pretend otherwise. I need words of encouragement as much as the next person.
Admitting I need others is a huge obstacle I’m learning to overcome. A chaotic childhood taught me I can’t rely on others. I can’t trust others. I can only depend on myself. Even God can’t be trusted. But we know that’s not true.
Ever seen a mustard seed? It’s miniscule and yet the Bible says if we have faith the size of it, we can tell a mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey us. I confess I don’t have faith like that. In comparison, my faith is more like a grain of sand, most days.
Today is one of those days.
I feel beaten down. Crushed. Waves pummeling so fast I can’t catch my breath.
I’m not impervious to life’s tumultuous tide. That’s why it’s paramount I surround myself with powerful Scriptures that are a lifeblood to my battered heart. Placards, Post-its, index cards, whatnots, full of living, anointed words to remind me my God is in control and will never leave me or forsake me.
Because sometimes this Debbie Downer forgets.
He wants this worrywart to focus on these truths, especially when roadblocks, obstacles and boulders try to block and blur my vision with anything but the truth.
What detours, speed bumps or flat tires have careened your faith off course today? What Goliath needs slaying? What boulder is weighing on your heart? What wave keeps beating you down?
What Scriptures would help clear your vision and lighten your load? Surround yourself with them! Let them become your parachute when your world starts to blur.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 NIV).
My grain of sand Debbie Downer days will come and go, like the ebb and flow of an ocean’s tide. I’ll sail some moments like waveless seas, calm and peaceful without a ripple in sight. While other moments find me gasping for air in Tsunami’s wake. I am sunburnt, shivering, shipwrecked. I’m left clutching my life vest, desperately praying for the Coast Guard to arrive before the sharks eat me alive. Those times when I feel adrift on a desolate sea—drowning and suffocating beneath heavy waves of doubt, discouragement and despair—I will focus on all the times God has been my faithful anchor in the past. Then I can trust and have faith, once again, that He won’t fail me in the present or future.
No matter how strong the winds blow and the waves come crashing down, He’ll always steer me in the right direction and set my feet on solid ground.
Grasping His buoy of hope, His Word, keeps me afloat every time.
I will never let go. I’ll just keep tightening my grip.
White knuckles and all.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
Karen Naber My Heart’s HomeLeave a Comment
Good morning, my dear sister. After reading your words this morning and praying for you, the LORD gave me a word picture to give for you.
Picture it; 2 days ago, I was outside, working on a new flower bed quite a few feet from our home. There are no trees there, just open space under clear blue sky’s. I am working diligently to remove all the overgrown weeds and grasses that are in my path as I picture in my mind what the final result of all this hard work will look like when I realize that the two baby chicks I have brought out with me, to allow them sunshine, fresh air and exercise, are making alot of noise. I look down and they are running towards me, as fast as their little legs can carry them as they feel threatened, hopeless and scared at the sight and calls of the hawks, ravens and seagulls circling above them. The chicks know that I will protect them. As I am standing in the fresh dirt, legs straddled on either side of a shovel, the chicks do what their instinct tells them to do, run underneath my body for safety.
In psalms 91, 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge; I don’t have any feathers, I certainly don’t have any wings, but as the chicks feel hopeless and scared, they know that I will protect them by scooping them up into my arms and will protect them from the threats that is causing them to fear. And I do, I scooped them up, they are only a few weeks old, I brought them back inside to their cage where they felt the most comfortable and after they had a drink of cool water, they settled down in their clean shavings and went to sleep, comforted in the knowledge that I rescued them from this peril and am willing to rescue them when they feel threatened again.
Our LORD is just like this, keep running to HIM, keep hiding in HIS shadow, keep trusting in HIM, HE will deliver you from this situation, from your hopeless feelings, and know that I as well as many others will keep you in our prayers.
Thanks, Yvonne! I feel nestled under His feathers right now. Fruit needs all seasons to grow, so when winter comes, it it as sacred as summertime’s rays of sunshine. Sometimes we fight the darkness, but we must, instead, embrace seasons of sorrow (just like any other season) and allow God to refine us and produce fruit in us through our trials. As I have been doing this, the most profound joy and peace is starting to rear its beautiful head from the shadows. We need our cages rattled sometimes, so we don’t become too complacent and cushy in our nests. Amen?
Beth Williams says
I think every woman has “Debbie Downer Days” when it feels like nothing is going right and you feel useless and just plain crappy.
But out of those ashes God can create beauty. In fact He uses those trials to build us up and strengthen us.
Thanks for a great post!
Amen, Beth! We usually grow the most during the bleakest periods of our lives. God wants us to embrace our Garden of Gethsemane moments, let the tears fall and focus on Him with whatever strength we can muster. When our sisters our hurting and we’re tempted to offer them that used Kleenex in our pocket (or a Christian platitude or pep talk) lets offer our arms instead and hold them until the tears cease. The Bible says, ‘mourn with those who mourn.’ God’s healing hand isn’t always a pretty picture, but we know the mess will get mopped up in His timing, not ours. Brokenness is beautiful and it’s when we’re feeling the most empty, where His grace is oftentimes felt the most fully. Thanks for your reply!
Amy McCollister says
Such a timely post. As for me, I’m the typical Suzie Sunshine. I have a few people who are Debbie Downers. The phrase you put so eloquently ” How do I write an encouragement letter when Debbie Downer has Susie Sunshine in a chokehold?” Rang true in my heart. After a conversation with one of the downer’s last night I felt like I was in a choke hold, like I was becoming a Debbie Downer. Thank you for the reminder that God is our buoy who keeps us afloat, even when friends don’t seem to help much.
Amy, there will always be Debbie Downers in our lives, unfortunately. I’m learning to set boundaries with others who try to constantly bring me down. I limit my time with them because they drain me emotionally. I have a family member who is especially toxic and constantly critical of me. They feel taller by always stepping on me. That’s partly why I’ve been depressed lately. I need to make a decision about this relationship because they poison my soul. It’s so difficult sometimes, but God doesn’t expect us to be a doormat for others to wipe their feet on. If someone can’t respect our boundaries, sometimes the best thing to do is walk away from the relationship and dust our feet off as we go. We can’t fill the emptiness in someone else, only God can. It’s not our job. If someone is constantly bringing us down, it’s not a healthy relationship. And if we keep letting them, we’re codependent. Healthy relationships are interdependent. Thanks for your comment!
Amy McCollister says
Learning how to not be a door mat has been a reoccurring theme in my life over the past 9 months. Learning how to stand up for myself, my beliefs and my rights while balancing my sensitive nature, has been a hard road, one that I am proud of. The downside of that is when you do start to take a stand, especially to friends who’ve known you for a while, they might not like it. I’ve had several friends walk away because they didn’t like the changes that I’d made. Thanks for the encouragement.
Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us! It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one who needs encouragement and feels tossed about sometimes. We as the body of Christ need each other, and maybe that’s the way it’s suppose to be.
So true, Linda. We need to be transparent and real with one another during the good, the bad and the ugly. Not always easy, but that’s where God brings wholeness, in our brokenness.
Today, I had to have one of “those” conversations. The first time I’ve seen someone since Mom passed away a few months ago and I had to tell them and feel the loss a little more. It wasn’t as bad as the firt time or the second or even the third. I imagine it will continue to get better. There isn’t a particular verse that made it better. My precious Mom lived God’s love for all of us, so I could relate all kinds of scripture to her memory. And the fact that she worked hard to give us a firm foundation in the Lord means the next time I have to tell someone she is gone, it will be a little easier.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure your feelings are so raw right now. Will pray you take the time to grieve this painful loss and cry all the tears you need. How blessed you were to have a loving mother. She sounds precious. What a GIFT. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one… My father died 7 years ago next month. I still wish I could pick up the phone and call him. We were like best friends. I bought some books on grieving which helped. Also, writing him a goodbye letter and pretending I was reading it to him. Oh, man, did I CRY, but it helped me heal. Praying your heart heals, too. Take as long as you need!!
Holley Gerth says
“White knuckles and all”…yes and amen and I’m with you, girl!
Holley, haven’t we all had white knuckled moments? I was tempted to pretend and write a Susie Sunshine letter to my Bible study sisters, but God whispered ‘be transparent. I have you going through this for a reason…’ (Usually I’m upbeat, but at this time I was going through a heavy trial, so I needed to trust God’s timing.) I was so blessed and encouraged by other women who wrote me afterward telling me how much my letter meant to them…they didn’t think anyone could relate to their pain. I was blown away by how God encouraged ME by being transparent and trying to minister to someone else DESPITE my pain! That’s the body of Christ in action, amen?
Amy Hunt says
Clinging to Him, Trusting in the Truth that He will always steer us … and holding firm to the faith that He uses all for purpose … it’s so freeing to trust Him, isn’t it?! Your heart reads beauty in these words you poured out.
Rich blessings, Karen, as you continue to be used for His glory…
Thank you, Amy. It’s amazing how not only focusing on Scripture, but just READING His word can strengthen us! I did this last night when I felt the heaviness in my heart return and I felt so much better afterward.
Today I am not laughing. (see my name up there). I am 33 and still single. Up until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t even had a date of any kind in about 5 years. I’ve tried 3 different online dating sites, no wait, make that 4, I forgot about one. I have told the friends I trust repeatedly to set me up if/when they ever meet a decent, good, God-fearing man that could be a good match for me. I try to live my life and fill it with Good things and enjoyment. Just before Memorial day I met a guy on the most recent site I’m on. We chatted online a few times and REALLY clicked. We talked on the phone a couple of times and still clicked. Then we met. Still clicked pretty well. Went out a few times and I was really starting to hope. I was keeping my heart guarded and my mind (mostly) in check. But we seemed to get along so well and just connected in the best ways that I was REALLY starting to hope that maybe, just maybe, this was “it.” This was the guy who would choose to stick around for the long haul. Then just as suddenly as he appeared, he emailed to say he doesn’t think we’re a good fit and that he’s recently out of another relationship and is more vulnerable than he realized. And although I’m not “heart-broken” I am very sad and deeply disappointed. My heart is bruised and my hope is tarnished. Again.
This is the boulder weighing on my heart today.
Oh, I feel your sorrow ‘LaughingMouse.’ I didn’t get married until I was 39, so I experienced a ton of heartache before I finally met ‘the one.’ I met my husband online at Christian Matchmaker, so there is hope! Before I met him there was this guy I thought had all the qualities I wanted in a husband and he was PERFECT in ever way for me, or so I thought. Only problem was he didn’t feel the same way. It took a while for me to get over that blow and the sting of rejection in my heart. Let me encourage you through your heartache!! I like to say I wasn’t ‘looking’ when I met my now husband, but I was ‘open’ and ready to meet him if he arrived and he did! And we have been happily married now 7 years. Being single can be lonely, but I look back at that time now as treasured. I had the freedom to do so many things I can’t do now because I am married and have a son. I also used the time to work on my issues, so when the right man came my way I was able to recognize a healthy relationship and someone who treated me right. We always think the grass is greener, but God has you in this season of your life for a reason. Maybe so you can encourage another woman later in life when you’re happily married and she is heartbroken in her singleness. KEEP YOUR CHIN UP!! Praying for your heart to mend.
Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis says
I love your words here. Thank you for the inspiration today!