You are held.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over my life so much that I nearly drowned.  (Mark 4:37 rewritten) 

I immediately panicked and put on the nearest life vest floating on the water.

Then I grabbed buckets and furiously worked to dump the water out as quickly as possible. 

I cried and screamed until my throat hurt. I pounded my fists and through gritted teeth I finally yelled, “God, wake up! Are you asleep? Please help me! Can’t you see I’m drowning here? I’m sinking and there’s nothing else I can do.”

In exhaustion, I quit! I threw the life vests and buckets overboard and waited as the water continued to pour and rise.  

I thought I was going to die. Just before the water got up to my mouth I whispered, “I give up.”

Immediately I felt him hold me in his big arms and I heard him say, “Good, let’s get to work.” 

I laid there numb as the water stopped pouring. The waves were completely flat with just ruffles of movement. The dark clouds parted, and the sunshine warmed my face.  Everything was beautiful and bright. I was so tired that I fell asleep peacefully in his arms.  

When I woke up, I thanked him for coming to my rescue and saving me. He smiled and laughed a little when he replied, “Michelle, I was right here the entire time, but you were so determined to save yourself. You’ve always felt like you had to protect your world and everything in it. That feeling of needing to be in control helped you survive your childhood. It’s like a reflex for you.”

But now, that desperate need for control holds you back. It gets in your way and it paralyzes you. It doesn’t serve you well at all anymore, and it’s so automatic for you it’s hard for you to even see it.”

Now let’s try this again.

My eyes widened as the sky grew dark.  The clouds boomed and the lightning lit up the sky.  My heart started to race and I struggled in his arms.  The more I pulled away, the tighter he held me.  I winced as the water came up to my ears and this time instead of screaming I started to sing. I clapped my hands and raised my arms in worship as if the booming thunder and lights were just a part of the concert.  

A funny thing happened.

As I sang, my heart rate slowed down.  My eyes met His gaze. The panic and anxiety slowly left, but the storm raged on. 

It was as if I was floating on the furious waves. They continued to pound me, but I didn’t sink.  The water continued to rise but I didn’t drown. The wind blew with fury, but I hardly moved.  

Tears of Joy welled up in my eyes as I finally realized I was safe in the arms of my Heavenly Father. Safe in every season and in every storm! 

I simply had to let go.  

I had to learn how to part with fear and control, and how to link arms with faith and praise.  

It wasn’t easy, but when a new storm arrived and made my heart pound instead of looking for a way to control it or manage it, I looked for his arms.  

I remembered his faithfulness in prior storms. 

Even though I still get scared, I sing out loud in my shaky voice.  I lift my arms in praise through tears.  I say His name over and over, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Music keeps me focused on being held. The praise keeps my focus on Jesus and not my circumstances.  

Jesus simply looked at the waves and commanded them to be still. Just like that! When there’s chaos, seek him, praise Him and let His presence usher peace and calm into your life. 

You are loved.

You are safe. 

You are held.  

Do you remember the last storm that swept into your life? What did you do to stay focused on Jesus? What song do you sing when your life is spinning out of control? What promise do you cling to in His word? As the storms rage all around you, how did you sense His presence?

Are you in a storm right now? I would love to pray for you. Please comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.

Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann is a song that has blessed me in all of my storms. I pray it blesses you.

You know, believe and obey God’s voice.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27

I stood there at the register in Walmart patiently waiting for the cashier to ring up my items, when I felt God impress on my heart to give her the cash in my wallet. What? It wasn’t a lot of money, but I dismissed the thought because I wasn’t sure about handing her cash. As I headed out with both hands on my cart, I glanced back and felt the tug again.  

I paused and wrestled with the possibilities, “How do I just walk up and give her cash? What if I get her in trouble? That is crazy! Did God really say…?”

As I walked towards the exit, I noticed there was a bank in the store with a set of envelopes on the counter for deposits.  I got an envelope and put the cash in it with a sweet note. I walked back and handed it to her and she placed it in her pocket with a puzzled smile.

Later that evening at a meeting, I shared some things I felt like God was wanting to shift. No one in the room wanted to make any of the changes. After hearing the questions and the concerns from others, I left feeling bewildered. My mind started to fill with doubt, again.

Did God really say….?

This is just one day, but I could go on and on about how often this plays out in my life. Unfortunately, I don’t always get it right. It has tripped me more than once.  It’s really nothing new.  This is an old trick of the enemy.  

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? 

Genesis 3:1

Did God really say? 

I’m learning to pay close attention when I think “Did God really say?” because I know the enemy’s goal is to create doubt, confusion, and disobedience.

His goal is to get me disoriented enough to give up or mess up. It’s the main reason I took a break from writing this series. I started writing this series in the middle of a very stressful time and for deeply personal reasons. 

It’s still stressful and personal, but I’m onto his schemes now. I am weary, but I am not giving up. 

Did God really say? 

Yes, He did.  

Prayer: 

Jesus, forgive me when I get weary and let doubt and confusion creep in. Help me to be strong against the schemes of the enemy. Help me to abide in you and help me to listen. Jesus, help me to hear you, believe you and obey you. Give me faith to know your promises are true even when my eyes do not see them. Give me strength to obey. Help me to be in fellowship with you at all times.  Speak Lord, your servant is listening.  

  • Are you hearing, “Did God really say?” 
  • Is the enemy using his classic tactics to get you off of your game?
  • What do you do to overcome the doubt and get back on track?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments below.

You meditate on His Promises

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

Psalm 119:148

For many years, I have heard those awful mean voices in my head that tell me I am not enough. Over and over, they declare that I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, and I am not strong enough.  Whatever the challenge, they scream “You can’t do this!” And when I fail, I hear the awful taunting of “I told you so. Why do you even try?”    

It’s awful.

I wish I could tell you those mean voices are gone and that I don’t hear them anymore, but they are still there. However, I don’t hear them as often and they are not as loud as they used to be.  

What changed? 

I started talking back to them. I started declaring God’s promises to me and I’d say it right back to them.  

“You can’t do it. You will never be able to do it.”

  • Oh yeah? Well I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  

“You are going to fail. This is going to be a big flop.”

  • Maybe I will fail. Maybe this will flop, but I am still going to try. Even if it fails, it will be okay. I will keep going. God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me.  

“Who do you think you are?” 

  •  Glad you asked. Me? I am chosen, loved, adored, precious, the apple of His eye and His princess.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

“Why bother? You are a nobody and nobody cares.”

  • HE cares. He leaves the 99 to find the one, and He found me and rescued me. I am His, and He cares deeply for me. He can use me to help others, even if it is just one.

“Don’t do it. You will regret it.”

  • I am going to do it. I will regret not trying. I may very well regret it, but then again, maybe I won’t. Either way, He is with me.

I am still a work in progress, but I am learning to fight back. The enemy has taken enough ground from me.

If you have mean voices in your head screaming at you, it can be challenging. It used to keep me frozen in fear. What helped me to thaw?  I found freedom in Christ and in His promises. The Truth will set you free.

For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.

John 8:32 TPT

Discover the truth of what He says about you in His Word. Declare it over yourself daily. Memorize these truths, and recite them as needed. Write them down. Write down the lessons you learn from them. Implant them in your mind and your heart. Continue to make them so loud in your life that the mean voices become just a whisper.

I made a bookmark to remind me of His promises, and I will be happy to send you one in the mail. Email me at journeypink@gmail.com with your address. May His truth saturate your entire being. 

What truths help you to shut down the mean voices in your head?

You are designed for community.

I know what it is like to have a heart walled-off from others.  I remember what it felt like to protect my heart and not let anyone get close. 

And then I found community. 

It felt safe. 

I slowly let my guard down.  

I discovered there was freedom in vulnerability. 

I learned I was not alone. It wasn’t just me. 

It felt risky putting my heart out there, especially when the loud voices in my head warned me that I would regret it.  

I wish I could say it was pain free.  It wasn’t. 

It is risky to put your whole heart out there, but there is also great reward.  

My natural response to pain is to isolate myself. I just shut-down. If I stay to myself and never let anyone in, then there will be no disagreements, no misunderstandings, no disappointments, and no broken friendships.  

It felt normal to isolate myself because that is how I survived my childhood. I never wanted anyone to know my struggles so I built walls around my heart for my own protection. 

In community, those walls fell one by one.  Once the walls were down and I felt pain, my first instinct was to put the walls back up. 

Luckily, my counselor encouraged me to persevere.  She encouraged me to learn from my experiences and to keep going. 

I reluctantly stayed in community, and I remained open.  Was it pain-free? 

N-O.  NO. 

While I have experienced pain in community, I have also received tremendous support, encouragement, and affirmation.  

I’ve said, “You can do this!” and I’ve heard, “You’ve got this!”

I’ve experienced grace and I’ve learned to give grace.  

I’ve asked for forgiveness, and I’ve learned to forgive. 

I’ve prayed for others, and they’ve tenderly prayed for me. 

I’ve laughed. I’ve celebrated. I’ve wept. 

Community is not perfect. 

Community is messy and it’s beautiful.  In community, as you engage with others you will discover more about yourself. 

You will make mistakes and you will achieve milestones. 

You will truly begin to believe in others and you will know that they believe in you. 

Community is imperfect togetherness, full of risk and reward.  Some call it a tribe, but I think of it as a gathering of brave souls willing to show up.  

I know how hard it is to show up.  I remember showing up and not saying anything for months. When I first said something, I remember the alarms pounding in my head demanding I just stay quiet.  

The enemy wanted to keep me isolated. He wanted me to be alone in my pain and struggles.  He wanted me to be quiet. When I was isolated and quiet, I was ineffective.  

Something significant shifted in me when I gathered in community.  I found healing, I discovered my voice and I realized my purpose.

We were not created to do life alone.  We were designed to gather in community. 

If you feel like you are isolated and alone, please know there is a place for you at the table where grace abounds and love wins, every time.  

Let’s show up.  

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:22-25 MSG