You Prayed and Prayed…

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You prayed and prayed, and no clear answer came. Or worse, you prayed fervently, passionately, ceaselessly . . . only to have the situation turn out exactly the opposite of what you asked. You thought God loved you and would take care of you, but your life fell apart.

When disappointments like these come into our lives, we find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” Maybe you have shaken your fist at God in anger or given up on Him completely. Perhaps you just decided to slowly distance yourself in your relationship with Him, because you haven’t seen Him show up. Disappointment with God comes in many different forms. Whether we understand why God allowed something or not, one thing we can know is that He will not leave us in the midst of our struggle, for Scripture tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Personally, I have found great encouragement from reading the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who is known as the “weeping prophet.” Can you believe that? Encouragement from the weeping prophet! But I think you will be encouraged too. As Jeremiah grieved over the destruction of Jerusalem, he turned his eyes toward the day-to-day faithfulness of the Lord. Notice how Jeremiah’s discouragement turns into words of hope:

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.

I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.”

Will you dare to hope as Jeremiah did? As he grieved his loss, he also declared, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends!” Yes, His mercy is new and fresh each morning. My friend, as you walk this new and different road, grieve the pain as you seek His comfort. Cry out to him for help, and trust his faithfulness to get you through one day at a time. The Bible reminds us, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

This week, let us reflect on His loving presence and the strength that He gives in the midst of our not-so-perfect circumstances. Let’s also look for ways that we can show His loving care to others. See the blog below to find ways to volunteer and give to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive

True Positive: Day 17 – Forgiveness

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Dr. Randy Kamen, psychologist and author of Behind the Therapy Door, says, “Forgiveness transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. Forgiveness can help you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. It is about making the conscious decision to let go of a grudge.” Additionally, Harvard researcher and physician Dr. George Vaillant describes forgiveness as one of the 8 positive emotions that keep us connected with our deepest selves and with others.

Jesus gave His followers the clear message of forgiveness. As we extend forgiveness toward others, we demonstrate that we understand the forgiveness God has toward us through Christ. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow someone to trample over us again and again. We must learn to set wise boundaries. Forgiveness means we are releasing the right to hold something over another person and handing it over to a just and loving God.

Psalm 36 is one of my favorite passages:

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.

It reminds me not only of God’s unfailing love, but also His great justice. When we turn our hurts and pain over to Him, we can trust that He will take care of it. Think of the ocean depths – there is a lot of life happening in the depths of the great deep. There is joy, peace and freedom when we release our grudges and allow God to deal with it. He sees, He knows, He is at work.

True Positive: Day 16 – Helping Others

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Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.

A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month.  Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”

Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash

True Positive: Day Three – Hope

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Despair comes easily when we find ourselves in a difficult situation. Generally speaking, it is a basic human tendency to defer to the negative. It takes a deliberate effort to look for hope when circumstance seem bleak, but that’s what positive people do. We must be honest and realistic about our pain, but through our grief we can look for glimmers of hope.

There is always hope. It may seem like a small sliver, but God can bring good even through the darkest night. Hold onto hope as you cry out to God. Trust the God of all hope to bring you through and ask Him to infuse you with hope. When Jeremiah lamented his own troubles, he made an intentional turn toward hope. He wrote, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:21-22).”

As we focus on God’s unfailing love, let’s ask Him to give us a bigger picture of hope through the power of His Spirit at work within us. As Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).”

True Positive

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Positivity sometimes gets a bad rap. There are those who simply find positive people annoying or bothersome, while others view them as forced or insincere. I recently ran across a book entitled, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. Despite the distrust or disinterest of a few naysayers, positive people generally experience better health  and stronger relationships  than their negative counterparts.

There is true merit in being a positive person and enriching the lives of others. Science now confirms that our brains can form new neuro-pathways and create new patterns of thought. The good news is that it is possible to change our negative focus and thinking habits. For this reason, I have decided to offer a opportunity to move toward the positive. Each day for the next 21 days (because it takes 21 days to start a new habit), I want to offer you a short, realistic and practical way to help you think in new and fresh directions.

Are you with me? If you want to receive my brief and colorful positive push every day for the next 21 days in your inbox, simply press the “Follow” button at the bottom of your screen. I’m calling this journey, “True Positive,” because a truly positive person is not unrealistic or fake, rather she is a person who is open, honest and real about life and yet maintains a hope-filled perspective.

I look forward to walking this journey together!