Take a Nap

dog_nap_pixabaySometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for our own mental health is take a nap.

Today is the one year anniversary of my first full body paralysis attack.  One year ago today, my plans were hijacked. I know that if my plans were hijacked it is because God has something better. However, better, does not equate to easy or pain free.

Sorrow like sea billows roll. Wave after wave crashes into me, tumbling my weaken body.

On the kitchen counter, I read a note left by my sixth-grade daughter. The note reads, “Don’t forget to smile.” How did she know? dont-forget-to-smile-memeGlancing at countertop chalkboard verse I read aloud, “In everything, give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  I bow my head and offer a humble prayer of surrender and thanks. Remembering Rae’s words, I try to smile, but the ability is lost in sorrow.

Today, I ran out of ideas.  In the past when sorrow pounds and depression looms, I pray, read God’s word, listen to my favorite songs; recite my favorite verses and personal declarations. Today, I did those things and talked with a few friends, but nothing helped.

I finally surrendered and laid down for an afternoon nap. Two hours later, the dark clouds appeared less ominous and fatigue a  tad lighter.

Today, God taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for our own mental health is take a nap.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for our own mental health is take a nap. Click To Tweet

Friend, I don’t know what wave is continually pounding against you. When you have prayed all you can pray, and read all you can read, may I suggest you take a nap and leave the outcome in God’s capable hands.

dog_nap_lab_pixabay“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3)

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.  *Images courtesy of author and  Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Personal Declarations and Self-Encouragement

alarm-clock-pixabayDoes your morning routine include encouraging yourself? We each have a morning routine and today I will share with you a glimpse into mine. Before my feet hit the floor, I recite this personal declaration and prayer:

 

Lord, I love you.

Lord, I trust you.

Lord, I trust your plan.

Lord, I trust your provision.

Lord, I trust your unfailing Sovereign timing.

Amen.

 

When my heart is  heavy with discouragement I encourage myself by reciting these truths aloud:

Lord, you are a good, good Father.

Lord, I am loved by you.

You are faithful and able to complete to good work you started in me.

You have chosen me and will not reject me.

You call me by name.

You are jealous for me.

I am yours Lord, now do as you promised.

Amen.

God does not have grandchildren. Some things you need to learn for yourself. Click To Tweet

Going Deeper

My personal declarations and self-encouragement truths are directly from Scripture. I encourage you today to dig a little deeper and read these passages:

Proverbs 3:5-6Do as you Promised Verse

Psalm 143:8

Genesis 22 (emphasis on verses 13-14)

Jeremiah 29:11

Lamentations 3:25-26

Philippians 1:6

Isaiah 41:9-10

Isaiah 43:1

Exodus 34:14

1 Chronicles 17:23

Years ago, I was thrilled to watch my favorite woman of God, Priscilla Shirer speak at Thomas Road Baptist Church. From the third row, I clearly recall her saying, “God does not have grandchildren, only children. Some things you need to learn for yourself.”

TRUST with bench 2016I challenge you seek God’s Word for yourself and create your own personal declarations. We all have bad days which is why it’s crucial to encourage one another daily. But, sometimes we need to encourage our self in the Lord.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.

*Images courtesy of author and Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Storm Survival: Faith Lessons from my Dogs

Faith Lessons from a dog“Where’s Guinness,” my husband asks.

“Hiding I’m sure. He’s scared of storms,” I reply handing him the kid’s lunchboxes. “You know that dog, I’m sure he is hiding under Rachel’s bed.”

Minutes later my husband and kids head out the door to school and work.  I pour a cup of freshly brewed liquid mercy and pad upstairs to my red chair.  Raindrops pelt the windows with fierce intensity. I look out over the lake, but it is too dark to see. In the distance, thunder booms. “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.” (Psalm 29:3) Savoring the hazelnut aroma, I close my eyes and sit in silence before the Lord.

I open my eyes to see a pair of soft brown eyes staring up at me, silently begging to be held. “Oh Kinsey,” I coo in her ear. She curls up close, lets out an exasperated sigh, and drifts to sleep.

I watch her rib cage expand and contract to the rhythm of her breathing. I smile at the thought of our two Jack Russell Terriers with opposite responses to the same storm. Guinness, the stout dog-hence the name, with the brown patch on his eye, hides in isolation and darkness during a storm.  Kinsey, our runt of the litter Jack Russell Terrier, seeks reassurance and refuge next to her master in a storm.

I stood, careful not to disturb Kinsey and padded into the kitchen to refill my mug.  Not wanting to be leave her Master’s side, Kinsey followed. Returning to my red chair, Kinsey sensed her master’s direction, ran ahead of me, and jumped on the cushion. I laughed.

Continuing my quiet time with the Lord (and Kinsey) I pondered these verses:sea storm pier I will not be shaken verse Pixabay

“He guards the lives of his faithful ones” (Psalm 97:10)

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortressmy refuge in times of trouble.”(Psalm 59:16)

Through different surprise storms of life, I have responded in the same manner as Guinness and Kinsey. I hid my face from God and resorted to isolation, when I suffered a miscarriage, and I begged God to hold me up during my battle with post-partum depression.

In my current storm, I have great peace. Waves of uncertainty threaten to crash over me. I am anchored (Hebrews 6:19) to the one who created the sea (Genesis 1:9), and calms the sea with the sound of His voice (Matthew 8:26).

Isolation or refuge in God. How you approach a storm will determine your peace. Click To Tweet

What was the last storm you weathered? How did you respond? When surprised by unexpected storms, we can respond by hiding in isolation and self-sufficiency, or by seeking refuge from our Heavenly Father.  I’ve done both and only one response brings peace.

Seeking refuge in Christ alone,

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of author & Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Ram in the Thicket

It’s been a brutal week. I’ve wrestled with physical pain, emotional lows, and misplaced hope.

Searching for comfort, I went back to the beginning, back to Genesis. Abraham’s fierce obedience was not overlooked. Better than an ace in His pocket, God had a ram in the thicket for Abraham.

Don't worry faithful one, God has a ram in the thicket for you. Click To Tweet

Like the ram in the thicket (Genesis 22:13), God already has the answer to prayer in place for just the right time.

While my situation has not changed my outlook has, and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay. © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

P.S.

My brutal week ended with magazine publications for fall of 2016 from Clubhouse and Reach out Columbia magazines! I love when God shows off on my behalf. One thicket, two rams.

Security Found

“God makes her secure forever.” (Psalm 48:18)

This is not a drill imageSecurity is my number one driving factor. Therefore, the loss of security is my largest fear.

My mom drilled security into my mind at an early age. “April Dawn I want you to go to college and get a good job so that you don’t have to rely on a man.” Mom is not an ultra feminist, but a realist. My parents are Baby Boomers whose parents survived the Great Depression by grit and grace. Along with Grandma’s quilts and dishes, my sister and I inherited their desperate need for security.

Mom’s mantra to “go to college, get a good job, so I don’t have to rely on a man” is based on the 1980’s recession. Like thousandsquilt Pixabay of Americans, my father was laid off due to the economic decline. Dad worked various part time jobs in the interim, while Mom continued to work in her hair salon and as a crossing guard. Always optimistic, mom would occasionally smile and say, “Get yourself a good job; you never know what will happen.” The economy turned around and dad returned to his previous employer and eventually retired from the company.

Matching my love of people and science to mom’s advice, I chose Pharmacist as my career. Fourteen years later, I would be forced to step away from that career (temporarily, I pray) due to health issues. We are thankful to rely on my husband’s income and insurance.

Today, the CWA union went on strike.

In case, you missed that. I am not working and my husband is on strike.

This is not a drill.

 Anchor-2BpaintingI spent 2015 studying the verse: “We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

I did not expect this series of events, but I am not terrified either. I am firmly secure, anchored to a thrice-Holy God.

What did I do when we discovered my beloved was on strike today? I poured two cups of liquid mercy, one for him and one for me. Then, I pulled my little red chair up to God’s throne. Touching knees with the Almighty, He reassured me with these Scriptures:

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” (Job 11:18)

 “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. (2 Samuel 22:33, Psalm 18:32)

 “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:5)

 “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” (Psalm 16:9)

 “God makes her secure forever.” (Psalm 48:18)

Mom was partially correct. It is important to obtain a good job. However, it is more important to have a secure relationship in Christ. A mature faith is required to carry you when the storms of life crash your little boat. I rely heavily on the one man to whom anchors my faith, Jesus Christ.Boat storm Pixabay

Friend, is the earth beneath your feet giving way? Are the waves crashing in you boat? God makes you secure forever. Resting in the promise of Psalm 48:18 ushers in peace, and “it is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Strong Shoes Traveled on Stony Paths

Stony path and strong shoes quote Corrie tem BoomWhen the path we’re traveling suddenly changes from smooth black top to dirt and gravel. When everything familiar immediately changes to unknown. When the situation staring back in the mirror is not here to visit, but here to stay. Take comfort God will provide.

I know, because I’m there.

As a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, Corrie ten Boom also knew “If God sends us on stony paths, He provides strong shoes.” God’s provision in desolate times gives my heart reason to hope and “it is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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