I am a seed, DNA of hope, dying to self so that others might live. Elevated by Holy Spirit wind, to disperse gospel truth. Trusting no matter the path blown, God will snuggle me deep into the rich soil of His love and I awaken, blooming in the Promised Land.
Turning Your Page
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
Do you trust God to lead you to good places in your depression? or grief? Abram knew nothing about God or his trustworthiness. God called Abram. Abram went. Why? There is always an initial intentional act of the will to follow God and leave the familiar, those things that once grounded and rooted us to strike out and follow where God leads. You may not know much about God’s character, yet, but he knows yours, and when he calls you into unknown places he also equips you to get there.
List ways God is leading you through grief, depression, circumstances?
Do you have a clear idea of God’s promises, (his covenant) with you? Here is a resource to begin exploring the promises of God. Bible Study Tools
Pick one way you will step out in faith today to trust God.
Master, you have authority over my life. I once feared and even loathed your control. Now I find security and comfort. Guide me in the way that leads to your everlasting glory. Amen
I could have stopped climbing motherhood, after you fell. Sat in the crag of grief and let death bury my scarred soul.
We were supposed to view this summit together. Your spirit strengthened and equipped, ready for the difficult ascents of adulthood. Teaching your siblings life is worth the climb.
You were my first heartbeat of adventure. My own fearful expanse of the impossible became a vibrant vista of God because you lived.
The struggles of life became another rock to conquer. And we did. I breathed joy more deeply because we grappled circumstances. Our pain revealed gems of truth—life to the fullest.
The muscles of motherhood burned when I first stretched out for the next handhold of hope after your death. The ache of loss—you lived—crumbled resolve beneath my feet.
Did I make a mistake in motherhood?
No, you grew in the rich valley of youth. Stumbled, yes, but you scrambled back up, eager to learn. I look back at your tiny fingers wrapped around mine as I swung you up and wiped your tears. Every struggle was worth it.
The foothills became treacherous mountains. Required sturdier equipment, a deeper trust, training, and faith without seeing. I watched you climb further away, testing footholds that would not sustain.
Was letting you go a mistake?
I wipe my dusty tears and jump to the next ledge of trust. I was never meant to make secure your every step. God you are faithful. Sturdier in grief, because I loved.
Did I fail motherhood?
So many missteps. I watched in agony as your grip on life loosened. Motherhood stretched and strained to breaking. I prayed. Pleaded. Don’t give up. God catch him! Your life was a sunrise worth experiencing.
Does motherhood end?
No, because love always remembers life. Your laughter echoes in the canyons of my sorrow, the memories of your beautiful, valuable, life stirs my warrior cry of joy.
Was it worth it?
I climb this mountain of motherhood—gut it out to the fullest because my scraped knees of prayer and bruised soul of faith testify life is sacred, come what may.
Motherhood is worth the climb, even if I see the vistas of heaven without you.
Turning Your Page
… but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
John 19:25-27, ESV
Motherhood tests every spiritual and physical muscle you have. Your children may be grateful. They may hate you. Keep a short account. Be humble to admit when you are wrong. Embrace, love and hold them when their hearts are broken by this life. Celebrate life.
Do your best to steward your children, but know their life is their own. Motherhood is worth every bump, bruise, and yes, sometimes even loss.
What is motherhood like for you right now? Be honest with any bitterness you feel. Record what you love about moments with your children.
Pray for your children by name. Stormie Omartian has books that guide scripture prayers over your children. These are an immense help and encouragement in spiritual battles.
Your children have an enemy and they need you to fight well. Equip yourselves and gather others to pray and support you.
Write a story, poem, or list out scriptures that describe motherhood.
Father, motherhood is a mixture of pain and joy, love, and sacrifice. Help me to value the good moments and let go of attempting to control the outcome for my children. May your love be enough. Amen
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Turning My Page
I didn’t look at the calendar–I knew it was May from head to toe. Grief is a seed also planted every year into my spring. It is a heaviness that grows when May begins. This year, as it did the first year after his death, Jonathan’s birthday falls on Mother’s Day. With my foot still misbehaving and quarantine my yearly tradition of hiking at the cemetery with my family may have to change. I felt angry that something that brings me good memories and joy would have to shift. I was tempted to give in to the anger and spiral down into despair.
I received cards this week from friends who know the difficulties of walking through the next three months. Thank you. I was especially struck by the quote in one card, Deuteronomy 31:6 because the NLT translation used the word “personally”. I love a God who gets personal in my grief because he reveals the truth of his character in my soul and lifts my head to see hope.
Today, he showed me the gifts he already is giving me in my first days of deeper grief. Saturday night I lay in a field at dusk with my family and watched the stars emerge. I didn’t want to go in! The delight of each star, the brilliant moon, and even catching a glimpse of the comet and Venus had me filled with joy. The symphony of sounds in the field soothed my heartache.
Sunday morning I let my husband have fun cutting my hair. I promise, he did a shockingly good job, Michelle! Each moment of joy and laughter reminded and testified to God’s deep love, compassion, and provision, for me. There is an undercurrent of movement of the Holy Spirit I never see with my head down. I must press into experience.
God gently nudged me to look up. See hope in this season of grief, and offer it to those who neither hear the voice of God nor see anything beyond the darkness of their circumstances.
I am weeping for any of you who only see the darkness and right now are contemplating suicide. Hope! I see you turning this page, and then another, and another. One day you will look back on the story God is writing into your life and say, “Wow! I see the stars. I hear the music through the darkest nights.”
I know there is a vast world beyond my brokenness and sorrow because God himself, is involved in my life. I promise he is personally involved in your circumstances.
Turning Your Page
You will have seasons you wonder where God is in your circumstances. Look up, don’t stop experiencing life, and allow others to speak hope and truth into your life. You may not yet feel the hope in your grief, but as you make yourself available to hope, you will not be disappointed.
What is one adventure you would like to take this week? Set up a time, location, and invite someone to experience with you and or hold you accountable to step into the moment.
Describe a part of nature that reminds you to hope. Try to use as many senses as you can to describe the experience.
Meditate on Matthew 6:25-34 What in nature can you consider as a display of God’s extravagant love, provision, and personal touch in your life.
Thank you Lord for getting personal in my grief. Lift my head from this pit that I can once again see the stars in their place, hear your presence in my life. Amen
Come over to my Facebook Page for our Facebook Live Discussion and question and answer time on intense grief.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
” I want to change my room,” my daughter declared a year ago.
“Okay.” I grinned, ” To what?”
“I want it to be blue and you are going to paint me a mural of a horse rearing at sunset.”
I laughed. ” You have more confidence in my painting skills than I do.” It had been 17 years since I painted a mural, and even longer since I had sketched a horse.
“I know you can do it.” The conversation settled in her mind, she turned and walked away.
My daughter’s unwavering confidence was a soul lifter and she removed any lingering disbelief in me. All that remained was to follow through. I began studying other artists’ techniques, best paints, and brushes. One tutorial the artist shared that he gets stuck when he tries to think too much about where to go next. He slowly builds layers until the bigger picture reveals itself.
With so much time on our hands currently, we got the room painted a cheerful periwinkle blue in two days and then everyone cleared out of the room for me to get to work on the mural. I became a child at play. With each stroke, I saw the bigger picture emerge as the colors blended together and when I finally went to bed, I let go of my expectations of the outcome. The next morning when I came back to inspect the work I determined with a few touch-ups, it was complete.
My daughter’s gasp and squeal of delight were well worth the effort as she saw the finished mural. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did she notice them? No. Her focus was on the horse and that her mother painted it for her.
God told me to drop my expectations of him and recognize he is confident I will accomplish all he has asked of me. He takes off the pressure of the final result because that is his job, not mine. The gospel is a delight to share. He builds unexpected connections with others, His truth and love is the testimony he paints into my joys and sorrows. It isn’t in becoming a perfect Christian I find his pleasure. It is through painting the strokes of his love and waiting for the clear image to appear. Thank you, Lord!
Turning Your Page
God’s focus is not on your imperfections or your stumbling as you follow Him. His delight is in your obedience. The Creator of the Universe is confident you will accomplish exceedingly abundantly all he has set out for you to do. He told the disciples, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18, NIV). The disciples obeyed. “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” (Mark 10:28, NIV). Come follow him and let him train you to paint his love into the lives you touch.
List our skills you currently have. If you are unsure of what they are, start exploring and connecting with others. Ask what they notice in you.
What hinders you from dropping your net (the job, people, expectations, you think gives your life defines you) and following Jesus?
Study scriptures that display God’s confidence in you. Here are a few to get you started:
Jesus, I hold nothing back from you. Teach me to be a fisher of men, confident in what you call me to do. Amen
Somewhere during the swollen rush of depression, “Predictable” became the portrait I painted.
It didn’t matter that I survived trauma, death lapped gently at my soul, testing for weakness. It found my mouth. Invisible Ugly Stupid Worthless
I was out of the boat, thinking I knew God, but lies were the lifeline my pride gripped.
“Help” I gurgled, the water of despair mocking my lungs desperate plea to calm my flailing panic.
No one assumed I’d walk on water. Depleted. Held under by hands proving their own power. Broken, and bruised to marrow. No one blamed me for fighting life, but they tired of constant rescue. I drew oxygen from their attempts like and addict. Desperate for affirmation.
No expectation I would trust again.
I was born to drown. A statistic, speeding up the slow drip of life’s faucet. An ocean of regret would be quick. Easy.
You waited until I drowned my way, reached into my habitual turning away. My impulsiveness. Dying was predictable. Living, eyes fixed on you, resurrected truth.
Turning Your Page
You may build up twenty or more years of trauma, self harm, and lies in your mind, body, and spirit. You have wallpapered your soul with concepts about God, man, and the value of your life. Scripture says the complete opposite. Going after man’s approval is worthless, yes. But, seeking after a God who loves and wants to decorate your mind, body, and spirit with words like:
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm”
Lie: Jesus you don’t care about me. Truth: He cares and has the power to take care of what we fear.
How do you develop the ability to recognize a lie?
List any lies you believe that came up from childhood. Were they planted through the actions or words or another person?
Spend some time looking at scriptures that speak about the lie you struggle the most with. What is the truth? Write these out, and reinforce them outloud throughout the week.
Father, I am still learning who you are. Reveal any lies I don’t yet see. Place in me your spirit of truth. Amen
Stand on the sturdy bridge of hope. Hold When your kingdom crumbles to sobs. Wait… Breathe… and jump into the arms of truth. Loved… Purposed… Your face cupped in the hands God who creates life out of nothing. Know Him. He shaped you to live full.
Turning Your Page
Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me. Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail.…
Have you ever had a moment you thought you couldn’t get past? You thought the answer would never come, but just as every ounce of you strained to breaking, relief came. There is so much in this life that looks impossible, wait. Even if all you can do is stand on the bridge and do nothing. Hope will not disappoint you.
Describe a moment you thought you could not withstand. What did it feel like at your lowest point? What kept you holding on?
Draw a picture, or write a poem answering the following questions:
What color, shape, sound does pain make in your life?
What is something concrete in your life? Describe it using as many senses as you can.
Is hope concrete in your life? Describe the elements that make hope sturdy. and trustworthy.
Holy Spirit come. I can’t see what comes next. All i can see is my world falling apart. You say faith is sturdy and will hold me up. I put my trust in that promise. Amen
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.
But Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him and said, “Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?” Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm. “Why are you so afraid?” He asked. “Do you still have no faith?”…
Turning My Page
Silence is at the heart of every transformation God makes in my life. Our response to Covid-19 cleared my jam-packed calendar this month, and I now have the space and time for a quieter spirit. But, where there is silence, there is also death.
I have learned that to grow in faith, I must also put to death unbelief. I continue to practice quieting my spirit for five minutes after my morning scripture reading. Those five minutes are becoming precious opportunities for me to listen and trust God will provide an answer to this pandemic. I mourn for those who have lost loved ones and pray a hedge of protection around you. There is so much I’m not in control of.
I am dying to my expectations of God, myself, and others. I want things to return to normal quickly, but it is looking like our circumstances may not change for a while.
Today I put to death:
my own desires
my Chick-fil-a cravings
my children’s routine
my concern for my husband’s job
my expectations of God
The things I think bring order to my life do not. As hard as putting to death my striving in each area listed above, I am better able to engage my world with Christ asleep, calm, and undeterred by the waves and wind around him. Having faith that he does care for me.
Turning Your Page
You are dying to desires, wants, and even needs right now. Dying to your finances, the way you normally maintain friendships, family expectations, and faith. This a place of great fear, but it is also the place that God in flesh stands up in the boat and says to the wind, “Peace, be still.” It is an opportunity for us to step out of the boat of our circumstances and trust God.
List out things you are currently worried about or expecting because of Covid 19.
Look up specific verses that speak about calamity and God’s actions in times of trouble. (Psalm 91 is a favorite.)
What is God working on silencing in your life, and how can you trust him more deeply in the truth of his provision.
Father, I am afraid. You are not stilling this virus, and I feel like my life is in turmoil. Quiet my spirit so that I can recognize your call in this storm. Amen
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
I wasn’t feeling fearful of Covid-19 at first. After endless days of news updates, cancelations, empty store shelves, battling my own respiratory infection, and my kids home for the next two weeks, I am exhausted. This morning, I was challenged to spend five minutes meditating on the following question:
What things am I running after?
After spending an hour longing for those five minutes, but instead, working on chores, and assisting children with projects, I only found agitation and more exhaustion. All of those things were good but would not refresh my spirit. My mind, body, and spirit do exponentially better at responding to the needs of others when I put Christ first.
My husband very wisely stepped in and told the kids to steer all questions to him and give mom space to settle her spirit. He gave me a breathe. The Lord gave me a lesson.
I settled into my quiet-time chair and opened my Bible and journal. ” Holy Spirit guide my thoughts and help me to lean into your answer. ” This is God’s response:
Answers do not come from the news of today, but the good news of the gospel through my son Jesus. There is no anxiousness in me. Journey towards the eternal rather than the temporal. Calamity is an opportunity to shake off the agitation found in your attempts for short term security. Discover peace and calmness through the longterm practice of keeping your eyes fixed on me.
Covid-19 is temporary. Homeschooling my children is temporary. Shortages are temporary. Work changes are temporary. This life of trouble will come to an end. But the love and freedom of my salvation through Christ is eternal. The love of God is eternal, and his will is done along this short journey. Christ, I choose to run after the things that please you.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8 ESV
Turning Your Page
Fear is easy. It was the first feeling we experienced after the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Fear is the consequence of knowing good and evil, but not having the omniscience to know what to do with either. What are you running to?
Take five minutes to sit quietly and listen to God’s answer.
Where do you spend the most time, scripture, or the news?
What does scripture say about the source of your help in a crisis?
Create a picture or collage of all the ways Jesus is currently loving you and helping you to remain calm.
Father, help my anxious thoughts. I confess I have not run to you, and my attitude shows it. Thank you for speaking to me and calming my spirit with the truth of your presence in hard circumstances. Amen
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.…
I experienced an intense, painfully shy day in an unfamiliar place last week. The knots formed in my stomach, shame flamed my cheeks at the first awkward flub. I wasn’t getting anything right, and I wanted to crawl in a hole. I was sure everyone was laughing at my fumbling.
I forget growth, success, and God’s faithfulness. I was the same insecure child of my past, attempting perfection. But as I pulled out of the wrong bay, I spoke out loud. “Embrace the awkward Karisa. Only you are expecting to make no mistakes”, and with that, the knots in my stomach loosened, and the negative mantra in my head was silenced.
I can’t help that I have moments of mistakes in new terrain, but I can change how I treat myself when I do.
Acknowledge perfectionism is rooted in pride.
My insufficiencies cause me to seek God.
Who am I trying to impress, God, or man?
Embracing mistakes helps others to come to Jesus as they are.
Embracing the awkward means, I accept that I’m still growing and learning in faith.
Turning Your Page
You will make mistakes. There is a difference between sin and mistakes. Mistakes are the gap between what we know and what we still need to learn. I truly believe Jesus made mistakes. He didn’t eat perfectly as an infant, he stumbled and had skinned knees as a child. Jesus learned as an adolescent and adult to draw close to God and walk in humility and persistent obedience. He was God, limiting himself to our fallible flesh.
Jesus didn’t consider equality with God his goal. He embraced the awkward to save mankind and show us how to live free from the bondage to sin. Beauty is created in the persisting through uncomfortable feelings.
How do you react when you make private or public mistakes?
Is there someone you are trying to impress?
Practice responding to mistakes with grace.
Record what you learn from mistakes.
Lord, mistakes are not the end of the story. Help me to embrace, learn, and move forward from my fear of others’ reactions. Amen
I benefit from this anguish. Your judgment that finds faith lacking. You reveal secrets. Pull truth from my heart like a colorful magician’s scarf. I choke on the hate. Vomit anger, and bite down on the bitterness of repulsive slavery. I weep.
And still, you empty me.
Remember my image to me, the heart you canvased in my mother’s womb. Calmed, Loved, Purposed. Brushstroke light, concealed in despair. Display a masterpiece through the shadows of my suffering.
Dedicated to the many children who experience abuse.