Finding Peace When All is Lost: Guest Writer Angie Nolen

Finding Peace When All is LostAs part of Advent, our church invited my dear friend, Angie Nolan to share on peace. Angie writes on Finding Peace When All Is Lost.  She knows full well the supernatural peace extended to her during pain and loss. Like the Apostle Paul, who also wrote from prison, Angie’s voice carries the tune of praise and peace in dark circumstances. 

Last week, my friend Sara and I visited Angie in prison, I asked her permission to use this powerful message as a guest writer for Red Chair Moments. Today, Sara and I will read Angie’s message to our church congregation during the Christmas Eve service.

Pour a cup on liquid mercy and settle in for a blessing. ~ April

Finding Peace When All Is Lost by Angie Nolen

My mental image of peace usually involves water—walking beside a tranquil stream, sitting on the dock at the lake, or soaking up the sun by the ocean while wiggling my toes in the sand. It’s easy for me to find peace in those beautiful places…when things are going well and life is good.

How do you find peace when life is the worst it has ever been? How do you find peace in the middle of the storms?How do you find peace when you’ve lost everything—your home, your career, your father, and your freedom? How do you find peace when you can’t be with your child; unable to protect her and guide her as she grows up without you? How do you find peace when people have failed you and you even feel like God has abandoned you?

The answer is you don’t.

But true peace has nothing to do with your circumstances, your environment, or your feelings. Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet

The reality is there is nothing you can do to find peace. You have to go to the water—the living water. Jesus told the woman at the well “If you only knew the gift that God has for you…you would ask me and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).

Did you hear that? “I would give.” Jesus gives the water. He IS the living water.  In the 23rd Psalm, David says, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” That sounds like peace to me. He leads. He restores. Christ says in John 14:27, “My peace I give to you.”

 There is nothing I can do to find peace. God gives it.

It makes no sense that I am able to put aside my sadness, worry, and fear to sleep through the night on a metal bed in this terrible place but I can. Paul, who also understood prison life, wrote Philippians 4:6-7:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 The keywords from Paul’s script are “prayer” and “peace of God.” Every night when I lie down, I pray and recite scriptures until I fall asleep. When I am too overwhelmed by emotions and I can’t seem to pray, I know that my brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for me and that Jesus himself is interceding for me, and rest eventually comes. “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8).

The world defines peace as a state of tranquility, quiet, and harmony, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. The prison in which I am forced to live for now is not a place of peace. It is a place of self-centeredness, anger, resentment, noise, conflict, disrespect, foul language, and nasty attitudes. It is very hard to feel peaceful here; it is hard to settle your mind and find rest.

But true peace has nothing to do with your circumstances, your environment, or your feelings. Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

It’s the quiet assurance in your soul that God is in control; He’s got you in the palm of His hand, from your first breath to your last—your past, your present, your future, and your eternal home.

So, if you are looking for peace—stop and ask. Finding Peace When All is Lost

The Holy Spirit freely gives us His peace, and we must shoe our feet with that peace so that we can stand firm against the attacks of the enemy and walk forward in faith.

~Angie Nolen

A Season of Saturdays: Between the Pain & the Promise

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays.

The last three days of the Holy week, Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday, represent the pain of loss and the hope of the promise we have in Christ. What about Saturday? I understand the purpose of Good Friday and I eagerly anticipate celebrating the risen Savior on Easter Sunday. But what about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

As I studied the Bible for the events of the Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, I focused primarily on the last three days; Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday. I found it interesting that the gospels recount the various activities of Friday and Sunday morning, but there is little mention about Saturday. What about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

According to the Bible, the day after Christ’s death was the Sabbath. Jewish law prohibited work on that day. Perhaps each follower was pondering the words Jesus spoke during his three-year ministry. Maybe they were shocked and bewildered thinking, “This wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.” Maybe they felt stuck—stuck not knowing what to do next or how to pick up the broken pieces and move on.

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays. Stuck not knowing what the next step will be or which direction set forth. Like the movie Groundhog Day, I wake up and experience the same day repeatedly.

What is the purpose of Saturday? For weeks, I pondered this question. Slowly two words rose to the surface of my heart: wait and hope.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25).

“We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

My season of Saturdays are filled with confusion and curiosity, grief and loss. I am waiting on God to ease my suffering as I try to make sense of all the life changes. Meanwhile I reach out for the promise of hope that Sunday brings. Scholars tell us the Bible contains over 8,000 promises. If you chose one promise a day, it would take nearly twenty-two years to read all 8,000 promises.

Are you in a season of waiting? As you wait, wait with the promise of hope in Jesus Christ. Together as we wait with hope, let us remember to trust God’s sovereign hand.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

One Year Later…God is Still Faithful

Today is the one-year anniversary of my medical leave of absence.

One year later, I have a diagnosis (Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis), six new medications to manage symptoms, and new teammates such as physicians, counselors, and a slew of online friends with this disease.

Over the past year, I’ve wrestled with God over a handful of losses; loss of self, identity, my career, income, and independence.  However, today, I recognize God’s steadfast love and faithfulness was never taken away.

“But I will NOT take my love from you, NOR will I ever betray my faithfulness.” (Psalm 89:33, emphasis and personalization mine)

When it feels you've lost is all, God's love & faithfulness will never be removed. Click To Tweet

One year later, uncertainty still looms as I ask the Lord many questions. I surrender each question to Him knowing I cannot answer when, where, what, and how.  But I know the Who and knowing God is all that matters.

One year later... God is still faithful Click To Tweet

Friend, do you have uncertainty looming over you? I encourage you to write out your questions and anxious thoughts to the Lord. Surrender each question to the one who can replace your uncertainty with His faithfulness. 

~April 

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

Do as You Promised

Did King David have a red chair? This off-the-wall thought invades my mind as I ponder God’s Word.

Each morning I drag my little red chair across from God’s throne. Knees touching with the Almighty, I sit and wait for God to breathe a living word into my day.

Red throne chair King Charles of Spain 1700s Pixabay

Throne of King Charles III of Spain (1716-1788).

Today, I read the historical account of Nathan a prophet who reported to King David the words of his revelation of David’s future.  First Chronicles 17:16-27 is David’s prayer in response to such a significant blessing:

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:16, 23-24)

Do as you promised.

Comprised of four words and five syllables, “Do as you promised,” packs a power punch prayer.

Rising from my red chair, I pad into the kitchen, deciding this requires more coffee. I pour another cup of liquid mercy pondering the words “Do as you promised.”

Tugging the handle of the junk drawer, I give it a forceful yank. Why does this drawer always stick? Shuffling through box tops and pencils needing sharpening I find a marker and a sticky pad. I write, “Do as you promised” and stick it to the kitchen cabinet.Do as you Promised Verse

Whether washing my hands, reaching for a glass, or pouring coffee, this four-word prayer reminds me, God’s Word is full of promises to His children.

The Bible contains over 8,000 promises. I am clinging to this promise penned by passionate Peter:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV)

 After I have suffered a little while, Christ Himself will restore me. Lord do as you promised.

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21:45)

God fulfilled every promise made, every-single-one. It is well with my soul, because God will answer the prayer, “Do as you promised.”

~April Dawn White

Images courtesy of Pixabay and author.

Claim the Promise

Promise ticket PixabayA winning lottery ticket, purchased in Florida as not been claimed. This multi-million dollar ticket will expire if left unclaimed within the few remaining days of the six month term.

Pondering the unclaimed ticket reminds me of all the promises in God’s Word that we often fail to claim. Scholars suggest the Bible contains over 8,000 promises, that’s one promise a day for almost twenty-two years!

At forty years old I am walking through a newly discovered chronic illness of unknown origin. Until recently, I’ve been active and healthy. I often wonder why this and why now? I cannot allow my mind to dwell there; that is the place where the Enemy hides. He lurks in the shadow of doubt ready to pounce on any hint of spiritual or mental weakness.

Instead, I marinate my mind in God’s promises.

I shared in the article What Promise Has God Given You, the specific promise God showed me for this season on battling a chronic illness:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV)

When the answers don’t come as quickly as I like, when doubt roars louder than peace,  when I begin to question God’s timing, I remind myself of this promise.  For Ever Tree PIxabay

Knowing Christ Himself will restore me, make me strong, firm and steadfast is a promise I am claiming and “It is well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Photos courtesy of Pixabay

God Knows It’s Complicated

chaos- PixabayThis morning I hugged my kids and wished them a good day at school. For reasons unknown I said to the kids, “I’m going to put my face in God’s face and see what happens.”

Cupping the freshly brewed liquid mercy, I padded out of the kitchen. I chuckled at myself wondering why I said “I’m going to put my face in God’s face and see what happens.”

I pulled my little red chair up to God’s throne, knees touching and looked into His face. In that moment God reached out and offered a Holy Hug. Reading from Psalm 139, God reminded me that He knows all my complexities. He is familiar with every aspect of my life, including the ones I don’t pray about or lack the nerve to address.

He knows:

  • The complications of my newly diagnosed rare disease (Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis)
  • What gene possess this genetic glitch
  • My ranging emotions
  • My anxious heart
  • When I will return to work and to what capacity
  • My new limitations
  • When the mortgage is due
  • If we have to sell the house
  • If I need a single story wheel chair accessible homeNeurons pixabay

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,knit-pixabay1
    too lofty for me to attain.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts O  God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

This morning I put my face in God’s face. He leaned in and whispered, “April, I’ve known the end from the beginning. There are no surprise plot twists in your life. I know how complicated everything is. Remember I do all the work. You only need to trust me.”

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Sunset-2Bworship-2Bby-2BLoveToTakePhotos-2B-2BPixabay1him,who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

Even though my circumstances are complicated beyond my ability to reason, God is familiar with it all. God knows all about me and I know according to Romans 8:28 God is working it for good. My only responsibility is to trust Him while He does all the work.

 

Today, I put my face in God’s face. He renewed my peace and “it well with my soul.”

~April Dawn White

Photos courtesy of Pixabay

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