But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)
What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)
So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)
The difference this makes in my life is remarkable. This morning, I did not have time to begin my day in the usual way, and I felt off and irritable. By rising early and spending time with God, my heart and mind are set on Him, rather on self, and His grace is grown greater within me. Today, that has not been my story. Mom had a rough night, and woke several times. Consequently, my sleep was quite compromised, and we did not get up for breakfast until 6:45. Normally, that would be okay, but today we needed to have mom’s car down to the dealership by 8:30 for an oil change and tire rotation. The morning felt hurried and my heart, unsettled. Small things that normally would not bother me at all, were bringing me near tears, and I could feel my patience running very thin. It took everything in me to not be short with mom, and I was not likely as patient or kind as I normally would have been. After our outing, we returned home and I needed to contact the company whom her wheelchair was ordered through two months ago. Every ounce of self-control was utilized to not unleash on the person on the other end of the line, as she claimed they were still waiting on a signature from a doctor to actually order the chair. By the end of the conversation, I could have utilized a heavy bag and some boxing gloves, or a nice, long run, but alas, neither are options right now. Thankfully, mom was ready to relax and I very much needed to get in the word and chill out with the One who holds my heart. Already, I can feel the tension subsiding, and peace beginning to return to the spaces where it was absent. For me, morning devotions are not about religion or ritual, they are connection and centering and setting my heart right for the day. With intentional time before my day begins, my head and heart are prepared to navigate whatever comes my way. Without it, ugh; my heart gets ugly quickly. May we ever seek His kingdom first, as it is in Him that we find all that we truly need to navigate this life well.
Yesterday, mom conquered more fears, as she had her first hair appointment since March. She had been anxious about going and sitting and worried about transferring from her chair to the one in the shop, but all went well and she felt fantastic after. Additionally, mom had a wonderful visit with two of her dearest friends at lunchtime. They blessed us with lunch and Dutch Bros delivery as well. After they left, mom was ready to relax, so we attempted to watch a movie. Mom was quite weary, but refused to go take a rest. She nodded off several times during the show, but insisted that she did not want to go nap. The remainder of the evening she continued to fight off sleepiness, and finally gave in at a normal bedtime. Whether it was the exhaustion or her mental list-making for the move that made sleep a challenge, her sleep was clearly not restful. Today, I am seeking our Savior specifically for peace and rest, so that mom gets a great night’s sleep tonight.
Seek first the kingdom,
The Lord above all;
He holds heart and hand,
And won’t let us fall.
He grants us the strength,
To love and be kind;
Choose patience and peace,
As He has designed.
In all things choose seek,
The Lord and His grace;
So we may love well,
For all of our days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You love us through our grumpiness, brokenness, and ugliness. Thank You that You offer peace and patience, and fill us with love to extend to those around us as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to turn to You for help, and instead focus on our lack. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Comfort. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the peace and kindness that is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first in all things. Amen.
For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4
Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior; and my hope is in You all day long. – (Psalm 25:5, NIV)
Guide me and teach me Your truths. You are my God, my Savior. You are the One I have been waiting for. – (Psalm 25:5, ERV)
Lead me; teach me; for You are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in You. – (Psalm 25:5, TLB)
This is a critical reminder when we walk through difficult seasons. We must be led and guided by truth; rooted in our hope in God, who is our salvation. Circumstances change, situations ebb and flow, and emotions are not trustworthy. Even the people whom God gifts to us, are not who we are to place our trust upon. Yes, we can appreciate their presence as they walk beside us, but ultimately, we must rely on God. Today, as I prepare to head home for six days, the longest stretch I have been home in more than six weeks, I have to allow God to lead and teach me, and place my hope and trust in Him. When I arrive home, I will have one evening to spend with my husband before he leaves for a week-long motorcycle trip with some of his best buddies. The trip has been planned for six months, and it is important that he goes. For me, it is a bit heartbreaking to not have time with my husband, yet I have to recognize that my boys need their mom, and the time that we will have, just the three of us, is likely a much-needed gift. Also, I will finally have time with my best friend, who will be home the entire time. God knows what we need, and I trust that He will use the time the way that is best. I will be able to teach the final three days of the school year, and worship together with my church family on Sunday. Sadly, my running bestie will be in Belize, leading a team of nurses as she orchestrates a blood drive and various village outreaches, yet again, I know that there is a plan waiting for me.
As for mom, yesterday was a bit of a recovery day. In the morning, she was greeted by a quick visit from her best friend. We had quite a leisurely few hours, prior to her first in-home visit by the nurse, so it was a mellow morning. The doctor called to let us know the findings from the heart monitor. Thankfully, the results removed the mystery surrounding mom’s stroke, and provide clearer guidance as to how to actively prevent any further such occurrences. Answers aid in annihilating fear, and help us find footing to forge forward in faith. Another dear friend of mom’s stopped by for a quick visit and hug after lunch, and by the time she left, mom was ready for a solid siesta. Physical therapy took on a whole different look in the late afternoon, as mom is a morning person, and that time of day was not ideal. Victor was excellent at encouraging and adapting, and adjusted the exercises she worked on to meet her where she was at, and she finished the session feeling phenomenally successful. Her strength in her right leg is increasing daily, and it is incredible to watch her recognize what she is capable of doing.
May God guide us in His truth and teach us His ways; as He is our hope forever.
Grow where you’re planted,
Find hope each new day;
For God’s word is truth,
And He lights the way.
We must trust in Him,
And not what we see;
Now is a moment,
Trust that there is good,
Though it seems unclear;
For God is greater,
His presence is near.
God’s ways are higher,
Than what we might think;
He’s our safe harbor,
When we fear we’ll sink.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You guide us and teach us, and that You are our Savior and our hope. Thank You that hope is not dependent on what we see nor feel, but rather on who You are. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth. Teach us to trust You more, especially when we are hoping in things other than You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope in spaces where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guide us and teach us, trusting You to be our hope alone. Amen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)
The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)
God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)
Every morning, no matter the number of times I’ve been up in the night, nor the quality of sleep I’ve obtained, the handiwork of God is brilliantly displayed across the sky to remind me that He is present and that His truth remains. Whenever I am in a space of uncertainty, so often the words that bring comfort are from the Psalms. David was a man who endured trials and triumphs, and he recorded his heart after God with passion and honesty that is genuine and timeless throughout the ages. His recognition and awe at the handiwork of God captures my heart perfectly, as I watch the sunrise in wonder and amazement each morning.
Yesterday was another full day for mom. She had occupational therapy in the morning, lunch delivered and shared with two of her dearest friends midday, and then a late afternoon appointment with her primary care physician. The trip into town again went smoothly, and we are in awe of how God found the perfect PCP for mom. Her new doctor is a perfect fit, and sets our minds and hearts at ease, the moment she enters the room. All went smoothly, and we were on our way. After we had enjoyed dinner together back home and were ready to settle in to watch a movie, I checked mom’s phone for messages. There was a message from her doctor that must have come shortly after we left her office, and it left us both a bit unsettled. Mom just finished a 30-day heart-monitor study on June 10, and to our knowledge, it had been uneventful. The message implied that perhaps there was something to discuss, so we will be in contact with the doctor today to discover what exactly was found throughout the study. This is certainly a prayer point, as there are pros and cons to there being “something” there. A pro is that it could be the “why” as to what actually caused mom’s stroke. Additionally, if we know the what, it can be treated and prevented. However, an obvious con is that we do not want mom to have issues with her heart. God is greater. He knit her together in her mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on her head. May we ever trust in He who hung the stars in the sky and causes the sun each day to rise.
God’s great glory shines,
Each morn as I rise;
His work is displayed,
Across painted skies.
Brilliant the colors,
Show His handiwork;
Dark becomes daybreak,
World’s finest artwork.
All of creation,
Makes God’s glory clear;
Who chooses be near.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the heavens declare Your glory and that Your handiwork is evident as we gaze across the sky. Thank You for the daily reminders of Your presence. Forgive us for our uncertainty, fearfulness and doubts as we continue to walk along a road where we cannot see past the step we are taking right now. Keep holding us close, reminding us that we are in Your hands and that You have a plan that is already well prepared. Show us how to love those around us as they seek to navigate their own road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek and trust, appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Amen.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant. – (Psalm 119:76, NLT)
Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – (Psalm 119:76, ERV)
Send Your kind mercy-kiss to comfort me, Your servant, just like You promised You would. – (Psalm 119:76, TPT)
Can I be really raw and real right now? Though I know this is true and I trust Him, I am struggling in my current circumstance. Yesterday, I went to what I thought would be a fairly routine check back for my fractured fibula, but as the appointment unfolded, the orthopedist had some concerns about the swelling that was still present in my lower leg. She sent me to ultrasound to have imaging done to be certain there were no blood clots, as occasionally a clot could cause swelling such as mine. As it turned out, her suspicion was confirmed, and I do indeed have a blood clot in my calf. I was promptly whisked from one doctor to the next to the next, until I ultimately ended up in the ER for bloodwork so that they could start me on blood thinners immediately. Now, here is the space of struggle… I know that God, in His great love for me, gave the doctor the wisdom to check for a blood clot. Additionally, each next door I was meant to walk through to work toward solutions, opened rapidly. The difficulty that I am having in all of this is the loss of my mobility due to the fracture, and now knowing that I will be on blood thinners for a season and not allowed to partake in contact sports. After having trained with my football team since the fall, I am deeply disappointed. Likely, my difficulty sleeping at night is further fueling my frustration. At the end of the day, I know God is good and that He will meet me and comfort me, as His presence is promised forever. May we ever be open to receive the comfort conveyed by our Creator, and trust that His promises are always true.
With unfailing love,
The Lord, He is near;
To be our comfort,
As each cry He hears.
His presence promised,
His faithful love, true;
Provides what’s needed,
As He walks us through.
Let mercy surround,
In our fear and doubt;
By Your love, lead us,
Your path You’ve laid out.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is present to comfort us, just as You promised. Forgive me for allowing my frustration to compete with my gratitude in the good that You do and how You make Your mercy known. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would lay hold of Your unfailing love and find comfort in Your promised presence forever. Show me how to love those around me with love that comforts and remains present through difficulties. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and trust in Your promises that we know are true. Amen.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)
Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)
These words are incredibly encouraging reminders of truth, as I am standing in the face of the unknown. Over the weekend, as I competed in a Tactical Strength Challenge, I sustained an injury in my first event (of three). At the time, this verse proved to be true, as I had some fearful and worried moments, as pain began to radiate from the small of my back. I had to decide whether or not to keep going. For me, it was a decision to trust in His strength, as He had already brought me so far. He did sustain me, and ultimately, I did exceedingly better than I anticipated I would, considering I was finishing the competition in pain. After seeing a doctor and having x-rays taken, fear and discouragement again are seeking foothold, as the injury has turned out to be more significant than anticipated. Somehow, I suffered a compression fracture in my low back during my third and final deadlift. Now I am at an impasse, where I must slow down and take a break from my normal routine of training, as I seek the best possible solution for a speedy recovery. Fear and discouragement are fighting for a foothold, as movement is so much a part of my existence. I know God is good, and that He holds me in His hand. In Him, just as He sustained me and granted me strength, despite pain, He will lead me in the direction I am meant to go to find healing and wholeness once again. The Lord will uphold me, and I can trust in Him. May we give our fears and worries to Him, and allow the Lord to be our strength and support, as all victory comes from Him.
Do not be afraid,
For the Lord is good;
No matter what comes,
Let‘s trust as we should.
For He is our God,
Where all strength comes from;
Through faith in His Son.
Do not let worry,
Be what our hearts see;
Instead, let His hand,
Bring our victory.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not be afraid nor discouraged, for You are our strength and our help. Thank You that You hold us up with Your victorious right hand. Forgive us for allowing fear and discouragement to find footing in our hearts when unexpected things come at us and knock us down. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our hope, and all that we need is found in You. Show us how to walk victorious in You, so that we might be an encouragement to those around us. Lead us to love well, all who are afraid or discouraged, so that they too may find Your hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and help, and choose to place fear and discouragement in Your hands. Amen.
May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14