One morning in July 2015, I sat on my deck with Bible in hand and prayed, “God, I’m sick of struggling with wrong attitudes. I’m tired of wrestling with pride and regret and shame and blame. I’m over any felt need to toot my own horn or seek a pat on the back. I’m so done with me. So, Father, please strip me of all things that grieve Your heart. Change me. You must increase and I must decrease.”
I’d reached the place of total surrender, and I seriously didn’t care how God would answer my prayer. Anything He did was going to be okay because I trusted His heart of love for me.
Thirteen months later, I can honestly say the past year has been the most difficult of my life thus far. I’ve wrestled with rejections from publishers and wondered whether it’s worth my time and energy to continue writing. I’ve watched several friends and family members experience extraordinary physical suffering, some succumbing to death. I’ve experienced our most serious financial challenges in more than two decades of career ministry. And I’ve grieved deeply because a transition in our family has meant the death of a dream. All the while, God has peeled me like a human onion, revealing layer after layer of unresolved fear, unforgiveness, selfishness, insecurity, and more.
Digging into God’s Word daily has been vital to helping me weather the storm. I’ve met weekly with a group of godly women online to study the Word and pray. Knowing that my physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being are closely linked, I’ve risen at 5 AM and worked out at the gym for an hour several days each week. I’ve taken frequent short walks during my work hours, talking with Jesus as with my best friend. And my husband and I have fasted and prayed every Tuesday since last October.
I’ve battled and fought and cried.
I’ve listened and watched and waited.
And something in me has changed. Even in the past week things have shifted in my head and in my heart.Psalm 40:1-4 has come to life:
“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the LORD.”
For the past thirteen months God has listened to my cries and complaints. He has cradled and comforted and corrected me. He has carried me and encouraged me. And now I sense He’s bringing me into a new season. He’s giving me a new song to sing.
Rather than crying for help and wisdom and peace and patience, I feel compelled to praise Him for who He is—my faithful, loving, wise, attentive Father. He is lifting me from the muck and the mire of discouragement and despair and is setting my feet on solid ground. He is planting hope in me. He’s reminding me that, despite my not understanding certain circumstances in my life, I’m not responsible for them. He is. And He is God. He sees all. He knows all. And He’s in control. Whew—what a weight off my back!
Rather than focus on what’s made me tired and sad over the past thirteen months, I’m free to focus on the good things God’s doing in and around me—He’s strengthened my body and improved my overall health, He’s given me godly friends with whom I enjoy mutual support and encouragement, He’s provided financially through unexpected donations, He’s opening new doors of writing opportunities, and more. I even get to go to Nepal this week to encourage His disciples there.
I don’t know your circumstances, friend. But I know that, in the midst of what might seem like confusion and chaos, God loves you. You might be singing a lament now, but persevere. Hold on. Cling to the truth that God is our hope. He is peace personified. He is the giver of new songs.
What song are you singing today? Will you join me in singing praises to the Lord?
#bgbg2 #devotions #PraiseGodWithANewSong
Thankyou for this. So inspiring and completely relatable. I have had one of the most intense years of my life as well, and I often find myself asking God to help purify my heart and help me handle failure and success, rejection and platform: it’s such a crazy balance, something we have to stay really close to God with.
Thanks for stopping by! Yes, staying really close to God is the key through all the ups and downs, the victories and the seeming defeats. He is our strength, our wisdom, our hope. He is everything. Know you are loved today!
Very timely post, Grace. I’ve bookmarked it so I can read it again and again. You have a way of putting into words what I’m thinking, but have a hard time expressing.
Laura, I’m so thankful for the encouraging words. God bless you, my friend.
I can fully relate to this post.
Years later you spoke into my December 2019 state. I just bumped into your article om random Psalm 40:3 serarch ?Thank you so much & God bless you & keep you more
Carole, I love how the Holy Spirit knows our needs and directs us to the things we need at just the right time. This is a great example!