Loneliness Blues

Have you ever experienced a moment of unexpected loneliness?  A moment that leaves you feeling all by yourself?  One that takes you by surprise?

Yesterday I took my husband and son to the airport so they could visit an ailing family member over spring break.  I wasn’t able to travel with them since I just started a new job three weeks ago.  If I’m being 100% honest, I had been looking forward to the week of quiet homework-free evenings with zero expectations of dinner preparations or housekeeping chores. I was dreaming about bubble baths, kitty snuggles with a good book, and early bedtimes for this tired mama.

When I arrived home from the airport, I wandered around the house.  I was aimless and restless. I had planned to clean the house and work in the garden so that I’d have the whole week of evenings free.  That didn’t happen. I couldn’t focus on the to-do list.  I wasn’t interested in the book I was reading. I couldn’t find anything interesting on tv.

I was lonely.  I was missing my boys, even though I had just seen them a few hours earlier.  Frankly, it took me by surprise because I had been looking forward to the alone time.

Rather than wallow in my loneliness blues, I decided to do something about it.  I got up and cleaned the bathrooms top to bottom.  I transplanted blueberry plants. I changed all the sheets.  A whole bunch of busy work which still left me unsatisfied and still feeling alone.

That’s when I changed my tactic. I opened my Bible.

While reading chapter 5 of 1 Peter, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief in reading verse 7.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

My loneliness blues were cast on Him at that moment.  I felt immediate relief. You see, the feeling of loneliness was one that I could have given to God at the very moment I identified my unrest.  But I didn’t.  Why? Because I am human…and I tried to fix it myself.  Me “fixing” things hasn’t worked for me in the past…why would I think it would this time?!?!??!

In all seriousness, I should have known.  I should have remembered. I should have trusted…that God would take the loneliness from me.  That He alone would settle my unrest.

How do you deal with your loneliness blues? Are there specific scriptures that bring you comfort?  Come to the Porch to share….

~Emily

cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5_7 copy

 

 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

Perhaps today you feel as if there’s just no end to the stress and trials you’re facing.  This nasty cold just won’t go away and is hanging on for its third week.  Your car is going to cost you a $600 mechanic bill.  You just found out that you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for.  And yesterday, your uncle called to say your aunt is having some tests run to find out if the cancer is back.

Everything seems to be crumbling around you, and you’re not really sure why.  No matter where you go or what you do, it doesn’t seem to be getting better.   You want to think it’s going to be ok.  This is only temporary.  But all you can feel is the burden of what-ifs, despair, and anxiousness.

Sometimes, it feels as if God doesn’t even care.  Doesn’t He understand how heavy this load is?  If He’s says to give Him the burden, why does it still feel like the barbell and weights are around my shoulders while I’m slogging through quicksand?

There have been many times where I’ve just reached my limit, and I had to beg God to take it.  Then I would start to feel overwhelmed because the lie the devil told me was that I could carry it myself; ‘It’s too big of a request to ask Him or maybe too small for Him to worry about.  It’s just too important to hand off to God.’  So I would take it back and the cycle would start all over of asking, letting go, hearing the lie, and grabbing it back.

Please hear me—God is there.  He wants to take your burdens.  He want you to feel his unending love.  His love for us doesn’t stop or take a break.  He’s faithful in His promise to never leave our side, and new mercies come to us every morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’  -Lamentation 3:22-24 (NASB)

Friends, feel his steadfast love and give Him what’s aching in your heart.  He will carry any burden you have and comfort you through any trial you’re facing.  Feel His mercies fresh every morning covering your soul, and know He is your hope.

Is there anything you’re struggling with that we can pray about for you?  Comment below or send us a message, and we’d be honored to pray for you.

~Erin

The steadfast love of the lord never ceases;

Release the Fear and Lies

Last week I wrote about how the meaning of our names can predict our destinies and purpose.  In order for us to walk in our destinies, we must reject the lies that we have been believing and begin to overcome our fears.

The strength that it takes to defeat the giants in the Promised Land is the same strength that will keep us in the Promised Land.  Beneath each sin or compromise we have struggled with, we can typically find a root lie or fear that we began to believe.

Before I met my husband, I was on a dating profile where I had indicated that I was training for a half marathon.  I had a knee injury and was unable to continue training for the race.  However, I believed I couldn’t find a suitable date unless men saw me as actively fit.  Because of that belief, I never changed that portion of my dating profile.  Even after months of not running, I was still matched with uber fit dudes who were surprised that I didn’t indicate my fitness ritual within the first few moments of communicating.

So, there I was believing a lie about needing to be fit in order to date.  There I was engaged in the sin of deception because I believed that lie.

Take a look at Jacob.  In Genesis 28:10-15, we read that Jacob has a dream regarding his offspring being scattered throughout the lands.  Essentially all the people of the earth would be blessed through the promises offered to Jacob and his descendants.

But by Genesis 32:22-32, we see that Jacob wrestles with a man to the point he has an afflicted hip.  Jacob tells the man he will not release him unless he first offers a blessing.  The man tells Jacob that his name is to be changed to Israel and offers a blessing. God wrestles with Jacob, changes his name, and offers a blessing.

What were Jacob’s fears or what lies was he believing?  He believed he was inadequate and unworthy.  He was insecure.  The underlying equation in this story is Jacob requiring a blessing in return for releasing the man.  He did not believe the blessings that were pronounced over him before his birth.  He wasn’t allowing God to work in God’s timing. He did not believe the dream.

Each of us has doubts. Each of us has fears. Each of us believes lies that aren’t ours to believe.  When you consider Jacob’s doubt and belief in lies and fear, do you feel as though you are in good company?

This week I want to encourage you to read Isaiah 43:1-7.  What are some of the promises that God gives us in this passage?  Write those promises down and recall them to your life right now in 2019.

~Emily

Release the Fear and Lies

Named By God

What’s in a name? Why are names significant? Why does God value them?

Think about some of the names of God and consider the meaning behind them…

El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)

El Elyon (The Most High God)

Adonai (Lord, Master)

Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)

Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)

Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)

Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)

Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)

Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)

Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)

Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)

Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)

El Olam (The Everlasting God)

Elohim (God)

Abbah (Father)

If God, our Father, allows that many distinctive names to describe Himself, don’t you think it’s amazing that He has prescribed names for us?  Names within the Bible and in Hebrew culture are declarations of destiny and purpose…. sometimes they had positive meanings and sometimes they had negative meanings.

Positive examples include Joshua, whose name means Yahweh is Salvation.  Joshua led the Israelites through Jordan and took over the promised land while allotting the twelve tribes within that Promised Land (Joshua 1:9).

A negative example includes Achan, whose name translates to the troublemaker.  Achan sinned and through that sin he caused many deaths in the Israelite army (Joshua 7:1).

Several characters within the Bible had names which were prophetic in meaning, but it leaves us in 2019 wondering if our names are prophetic in nature too.  If God knew you before you were knit in your mother’s womb, don’t you think that also means he knew your name and exactly what your life impact would be?

Our names mean something now.  As in the Bible and Hebrew culture, our names are declarations of destiny and purpose.  If God chooses to change our name, as He did with Paul from Saul or Israel from Jacob, then He does that with a declaration of destiny and purpose.

In the next week, consider what your name means. What is the definition according to different cultures? What does your name mean to God?   Read Revelation 2:17 to consider the re-naming in Heaven that will occur during the End Times.

~Emily

Names

Tears on the Floor

Three women, arms around each other, huddled, their heads touching, worship music playing.  These women are taking their prayers to God, voices raised, hearts tender and focused on one thing—intercession.  Two of them have never met the third before.  But God put them together in this moment to humbly bring their pleas and praises to Him.

In just a few minutes, the praying is done.  The ladies open their eyes, hug each other, and the two walk back to their seats while continuing to praise Jesus.  The third looks down at the painted black floor and sees tears, small splashes dotting where the circle of women had been.  And in that moment, her mind is bombarded with overwhelming images of Jesus…

An image of a woman, so emotional over the presence of Jesus, that she was able to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears (Luke 7).

David crying out to God when the Philistines seized him in Gath in Psalm 56:8a, “You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle.

Jesus reminding His disciples, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten by God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

I was the third woman, and I was a prayer intercessor at the Connecting Women’s Conference in Birmingham in February.  This was such a new experience for me.  I was nervous that I wouldn’t have the right things to say to the women who would come to me and ask for prayer.  I forgot that God does the work, not me!  I realized the intercessory prayer wasn’t just for the women seeking prayer.  It was for the intercessor, as well, and I was blessed to be a part of that God-orchestrated moment.

The tears that were cried out on the sanctuary floor were sacred reminders that God knew where we were and what we were so desperately asking for.  They represented family and friends, devotion to Jesus, and hope for healing.  They told stories of fear, redemption, loss, and love.  And every single tear was known to God.

~Erin

FEAR NOT;

Peezing

For over a year, I’ve been peeing a little every time I sneeze.  My husband and I have begun calling it “peezing” and he finds it quite hilarious when I run for the bathroom after a good sneeze.

My peezing is starting to creep into laughter now. During a boisterous card game with the girls after a women’s conference, I had to make a mad dash to the restroom due to the peezing-laughter. These girls, my closest friends, whooped it up when I can back into the room with new PJ bottoms on!

Boo-Hiss to the terrible 40s and my weakening bladder!!!

The reality is that peezing is annoying, but the connections I have with my circle of friends are anything but.  I’m content that I have close friends where I can be transparent about what’s going on in my life.  I can tell some of these ladies anything and they will drop everything to pray with me or support me.  They will call me out on my garbage and hold me accountable to the commitments I’ve made. They strengthen me. They uphold me. They walk with me, as I walk with Jesus.

The truth is that reliable friends are hard to find.  People often talk about how they could support you, but their actions do not always support their words.  Likewise, we may not always approve of the decisions or actions our friends are exhibiting, but we can always be an encourager in the ways of God. Reliability coupled with transparency makes a formula for a stronger friendship.

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?~Proverbs 20:6 (NLT)

Many a person proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy person?~Proverbs 20:6 (CSB)

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?                ~Proverbs 20:6 (NIV)

Most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find?~Proverbs 20:6 (KJV)

Whether you are being transparent about serious situations and prayer requests or it’s a silly card game that leads to peezing-laughter…we need friendships to bolster us.

Who is your go-to friend for prayer?

Who is your go-to friend for accountability?

Who do you consider to be the most reliable?

Come to the porch and tell us who is walking with you and Jesus!

~Emily

The Day Before Surgery

Last month my mother-in-law, Renee, earned herself a helicopter ride to the ER after having stroke-like symptoms.  Less than a week later, she was scheduled for surgery to remove a brain tumor that had metastasized from kidney cancer.  The day before her surgery, five days after her helicopter escort, she still hadn’t regained use of her right arm.

Through all the visitors who trickled in and out of Renee’s room the day before surgery, our little family was well aware that these may be our last moments with her.  We had spent much of the day laughing and storytelling.  Brittney, my sister-in-law, had the outstanding idea to pack a picnic lunch so that the grandkids could share “snacks” with Grandma one more time.

As the evening drew to a close, Brittney and I offered to wash Renee’s hair, which hadn’t been washed the entire time she’d been in the hospital.  We kicked the husbands and the kids out of the room (We weren’t sure how wet we would get, let alone how much skin would be revealed!).  We gathered towels, basins, warm water, and a little bottle of baby shampoo.  While Renee sat upright in bed with pillows propped up against her lower back and a slack right arm, Britt and I pour water and lathered suds.  We rinsed and rinsed.  We controlled drippy water like experts and Renee hummed in the satisfaction of having her hair washed.

A trio of women focused on a humanizing task…no one else in the room.  Two serving one.  Not just because Renee needed her hair washed (which she did), but because two daughters-in-law loved their mother-in-law enough to want her to feel special.

In the hallway, a nurse said, “She’s so lucky to have a family to care for her with servants’ hearts.”

That statement sat in my heart for several weeks. I wasn’t sure that “servant’s heart” was the correct phrase.  Perhaps it was; perhaps it wasn’t.  I didn’t feel like I had a servant’s heart at that moment.  I just knew that Renee had been subjected to humbling tests and treatments…ones that strip a person of their privacy.  I knew at that moment, I wanted to tag team with my sister-in-law to make Renee feel “human.”

Scripture tells us to regard our family members with acts of service.  “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” ~1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV).

Scripture also tells us how to regard our elders with acts of service.  “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ~1 Peter 5:5 (ESV)

The act of washing hair may be worthy of saying “servant’s heart,” but it was definitely a moment where family was taking care of family. It was an act of love.  It was one where humility was exhibited by all three women.

God blessed that action; just as He has blessed every act of service done while modeling Christ’s love for one another. He’s blessed this family and He has wrapped His arms around Renee as she has faced the uncertainty of life and death this last year.  She survived brain surgery.  After a few complications, she is doing well in rehab and is starting to regain movement in her right arm.  God is good. All the time.

Cancer is a terrible road.  I wouldn’t want this reality for any family.  But I will freely admit that I wouldn’t change one moment of that “day before surgery.”  I wouldn’t change the picnic lunch or grandkids’ giggles.  I wouldn’t change the parade of visitors or watching my husband hold his mom’s hand.  I wouldn’t change the group prayer around her bed, as we left for the night.  And I certainly wouldn’t have changed any part of the hair washing.

~Emily