Carryover from 2016: Still Waiting on God

Waiting on GodThe Turbo Tax software asks, “Do you have any carryover from 2016?

“You have no idea,” I growl at the computer screen.

It is a New Year but I never had that New Year fresh start feeling.  I have a new word, a new verse, a new promise, and a new song for this year for 2017. All of this is new for 2017, but I am still dealing with same unresolved issues from 2016.

I still have a restless spirit. I was hoping that when the ball dropped at midnight (not that I could stay awake that long to watch it), my purpose in this chronic illness would be revealed. While the house has showed numerous times, we still have had no offers. I still don’t know where we will move and I still don’t know if we will buy or build a home.

These unresolved problems I hoped would remain in 2016. However, these problems have ignored the calendar. What are we to do when it is a New Year, but we have the same old issues?

I went back to my journal and underlined each time I wrote the word ‘still.’ Then God whispered in my spirit.

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

“Cease striving and know that I AM God.” (Psalm 46:10, NASB)

God reminded me that while I might have some carry over issues, that He is Sovereign and in control. I need to quiet my restless spirit and recognize that He is God and I am not and for heaven sake, stop worrying so much.

Consider:

  • Do you have any issues from 2016 (or before) that have carried over into this New Year?
  • How does the reminder that God is in control change your perspective?

~April Dawn White

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

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

Rest and Praise: Underutilized Weapons of Faith

trace-gods-hand-trust-gods-heart-quote-spurgeon-pixabayRestlessness is an Enemy tactic. Restlessness loots our heart of peace and leaves a destruction of doubt in its wake. If left unattended, a restless heart will corrode. The faith-filled heart, once anchored to trust, will begin to rust as our hearts silently question our Lord’s ability and Sovereignty.

The shift from faith to doubt is subtle. I recently caught myself following the breadcrumb path that lead to restlessness. Unbeknownst to me I’d shifted postures from waiting on God to the I’ll do it myself posture.  This shift towards self-sufficiency was slow and subtle.

We cannot always trace God’s hand, but we can always trust God’s heart. Spurgeon. @RedChairMoments Click To Tweet

Recognizing the subtle shift away from God’s Sovereignty toward my self-sufficiency, I prayed and asked for forgiveness. I realized restlessness as an Enemy tactic to keep my mind anxious and stressed instead of filled with peace and rest.

While praying, I compiled a list of weapons of warfare: Prayer, Love, Meditation, Praise, and Rest. By understanding the areas I am most vulnerable, this enables me to understand which of these weapons I need to utilize in times of unrest.Weapons of Faith

Weapons of Praise and Rest Verses:

“Cease striving, and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NASB)

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV)

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

When circumstances appear grim, remember to grab a weapon of faith and praise and rest in God’s Sovereignty.

What area of your life do you need to “cease striving” and rest with God?

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay *Scripture is via Bible Gateway.com

P.S. This post was originally posted on Inspire a Fire.com, an inspirational website that features my writing the second Monday each month. Please check it out for additional encouragement.

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.

My Psalm 23

Scholars believe King David penned Psalm 23 as an old man reflecting on his life.  I believe it to be true. When I read this passage I can see David’s gnarled arthritic hands gripping a hand-carved shepherd’s staff. I envision David walking through the pasture, pausing at a babbling stream as he recites these words:flock of sheep by Hans at Pixabay

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23, ESV)

I’ve always viewed Psalm 23 as the Shepherd leading the entire flock of sheep to the green pasture. But this morning I carefully reconsidered that notion. I believe this passage refers to the Good Shepherd singling out one sheep to bring about rest and restoration.

I am that sheep.

Sheep-in-Fency-by-Benjamin-Nelan-Pixabay-300x200For the first time, I realize the Good Shepherd “makes me lie down.” Until today, I never contemplated it was a forced rest. I also am being forced to rest. Resting is against my nature. Yet God has called me out of the noise of the world and forced me to rest.

This morning I pulled my red chair up to the throne of God. Knees touching, He revealed that He is making me to rest. Peering at the stilled lake outside my window, I am reminded “He leads me beside still waters.”

“Why are you allowing me to go through this?” I inquire of the Lord.

He restores my soul” echoes back.

This morning I rewrote Psalm 23 modernizing it to my current situation. (I don’t think God minds).

My Personal Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd, He provides all my needs.
He makes me to rest with His provision surrounding me.
He leads me to quiet places so He can speak tenderly to me.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the path He has already planned for me, for His name’s sake.

Even though I awake every morning paralyzed and often unable to walk,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your shepherd’s staff makes me feel secure.

You serve abundance at your banquet table in the presence of all my problems.
You pour out blessings on my head.Jesus Shepherd sheep
My cup overflows with all that You provide.

Your goodness and Your love pursue me daily.
I will one day dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord is my Shepherd and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

Images courtesy of Pixabay.com

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