How to have Peace in Times of Trouble

LogoColorNoText.jpegI recently experienced the death of a supervisor that I respect and care about a lot. I never thought that when I walked into Haven House as a counseling intern that it would lead to a successful career of helping and caring for hurting children. I feel sad about the loss, and find myself experiencing similar feelings of grief that I help my clients work through every day. Grief doesn’t feel good. It’s many feelings rolled into one. It’s a process that i know if I ignore it will leave me stuck.

It has me asking questions that many people ask. For example, a friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day about why a God that is good and loving allows troubles in our lives and in the world. Why did a wonderful lady like my supervisor go through the pain, suffering and death that she did? Why, did a God with unlimited power to heal her illness allow her to die when she did?  There are so many different answers one can get from that question. Why?

While I will not know the complete answer to the question about why do people hurt, experience pain and evil in the world, I can go to the words of Jesus for comfort.

1. He knew what grief felt like.

John 11:33-36

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?”he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

2. He overcame the world.

John 16:33
New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

3. You can also look at Jeremiah and what God told him about the suffering and persecution he was facing.

Jeremiah 12:5-6 The Message

“So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men,what makes you think you can race against horses?And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm,what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?Those closest to you, your own brothers and cousins,are working against you.They’re out to get you. They’ll stop at nothing.Don’t trust them, especially when they’re smiling.John 16:33

How to Have Faith When You’re Afraid

Today I was reading my daily devotional from “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” It talked about Jesus as your lifeline and referenced Matthew 14:31. This is a familiar passage for many Christians. Jesus tells the disciples to go ahead of Him in the boat, and then he walks on the water towards the boat. Peter sees Jesus and asks Jesus to tell him to come out. Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk on the water.

 

As soon as Peter steps out, he looks around and is distracted by the waves from the storm, becomes afraid and starts to sink. He asks Jesus to save him; Jesus immediately takes his hand and pulls Peter out of the boat and into the water.

 

This reminds me so much of my life sometimes. I see where Jesus is leading me, either in a job decision, or my family or some area of life. I start to follow Him and come towards Him, but become distracted and afraid by the problems, doubt, worry or stresses of life.

 

I love that in this passage how as soon as Peter asks for Jesus’ help, Jesus reaches out and pulls Peter out of the water. It was an immediate response by Jesus, and it strengthens me and gives me hope and courage to know that if I do find myself in an area where I must have faith, that I don’t have to be afraid because Jesus is there and pulls me out of the water, calm the storm, and restore the my faith.

How to find Rest for Your Souls

I am currently going through some pretty significant changes in my life, and I never really stopped to allow it all to sink in. I just kept going along with working at full speed, even though these changes are impacting me physically and emotionally. I had this idea that I could just keep things going with no consequences until this week when i began waking up early all by myself, and thinking about work related things at times when I should be resting. That is usually a sign to me that I am in need of some type of change to balance out my life and relieve stress. I struggle with this battle of balance. How do I take care of myself, my family, and my clients to the fullest? Can I really be superwoman and have it all? A career? A family? and Enjoy it? So, I began praying and I asked God to show me how to navigate this path that I am on right now. I always find it interesting how he works. I pray for balance and for rest, and then all of a sudden I have a day (like today!) where all my clients cancelled and so I stayed home and spent time with my son all day, what a blessing it was. It was a reminder to me that if I just stop, and time to take care of myself, I can be refreshed and able to navigate these changes with more energy and clarity.

 

28 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is[b]easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 11:28 Or who work to exhaustion
  2. Matthew 11:30 Or comfortable, or pleasan

 

Changes

I’ve been contemplating some changes lately. I have had “Jill’s Writing and Play Therapy Page” for about four years now and have finally decided to move to a self-hosted site to expand the website more. I am excited and have been planning for about a year, but I look at it and I always feel a little afraid. Afraid  that it will fall flat, or something won’t work, or that I’ll lose….fill in the blank. But at the same time I am truly excited to see where it goes from that change. So how will I deal with that change? Do I stay stuck in the same because of fear of change, or do I push through the fear to expand my website? I know I’m just writing about a website here, but there are many times we are faced with change for whatever reason. We move, we start a new career, we end a job, we make new friends, we move churches. Whatever the change, it helps to see what’s on the other side of it: New, Fresh start and how we get there: The process God leads us through.

10 Things to Make Your New Year Stress Free

I don’t know about you, but for me the end of a year and the beginning of a new one always has a feeling of relief for me. I love the idea of a new, fresh start and starting over. The past year for me has been full of ups and downs, and a lot of personal stress. But at the same time, there are many blessings in my life. If I look back this year, I can see where God has really come through for me and my family. I love the hope that a new year brings. I believe that this year will be better than last year, and that God will continue to teach me how to trust Him in my life.

Here are 10 things that I am going to do this year to make life more stress free take these ideas and also add your own in the comments:

1. Say no to at least one project a week.

2. Reduce the amount of caffeine and sugar I consume.

3. Plan at least one date night a month with my husband.

4. Plan more time with my girlfriends.

5. Schedule in at least one morning a week for writing and business planning.

6. Pay down debt.

7. Say what I am thankful for everyday because God supplies all me needs and provides for me every day.

8. Read more for pleasure.

9. Read a good Bible study or join a Bible study group.

10. Give up trying to plan every little detail of my life and allow God to work things out.

 

Verses that Spoke to Me this Week:

 Isa 43:16, 18-19

This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Proverbs 3:5-6 

The Message (MSG)
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Confusion vs. Trust and Faith

What’s chronic, repetitive, or inflamed in your inner or outer life?

This burning question is personal. There are many things I could say about it. The past year or so of my life have brought out a lot of hurt, joy, tears, laughter, many mixed emotions. Most recently I took on some opportunities in my life that reminded my of the things that I left, and inflamed a lot of mixed emotions, distrust and confusion. Confusion about what God’s will is for my life right  now, how to decide if an opporunity is one that Is from God, or just a distraction from what His will actually is in my life. And me,being stubborn would rather take an opportunity and then stress about how to get out of it rather than saving myself the heartache and stress and trusting the path that I believe God has put me on. The repetitive is the constant battle to trust the process, and my practical mind, the need for certainty and to provide for my family financially vs. patience, trust and hearing the whispers of the Holy Spirit in my heart leading me, allowing God to unfold his will for my life openly without reservations. The balance between the “busy syndrome” that often accompanies the profession of counseling, the need to pour out compassion everywhere, and the need for self care and rejuvenation. It is a constant battle and conflict for me, and left unchecked can lead me to stubborn slips of faith. It reminds me of Peter, when he sees Jesus walking on the water towards the boat, he takes one step out, and begins walking towards His Savior, and then loses his focus off Jesus and focuses on the storm, then fear sets in and he falls into the stormy waters. There are several things that I love about this picture. One: Peter has the faith to get out of the boat, and two, Jesus is right there pulling Peter out of the water to bring him back to safety and into the boat. It reminds me that I don’t have to fear, that I can take the steps of faith that are presented to me, and that when I fail Jesus is there to rescue me and bring me back to safety, and showing me that I can Trust Him and His will and place in my life.

Matthew 14:22-34