How To Grow and Heal From Sufferring

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When we have negative experiences, they are opportunities to grow and heal, if we will allow ourselves to step back and find new perspective. Personally, my mental illness and accompanying difficult experiences have really helped me grow – but it was choice. Was I going to accept where I’m at and learn from it? Or would I let myself get bitter and shut down? I had (and still do have) moments where I’m all in to grow from the pain of it all, and other days where I’d rather do nothing but hide and escape from my problems. I’ve learned to let myself have both days, while slowly moving toward growing and learning instead of avoiding and hiding.

Walking through my own mental illness has made me strong in the midst of chaotic and painful emotions. Also, my struggles have given me compassion for people who go through similar difficult things. I have learned the art of being aware of my emotions, paying attention to what they might be telling me, and responding appropriately. This awareness has allowed me to notice the individuals who hurt the most, sit with them in their pain, and encourage them that, they too, will grow from their pain. We can allow mental illness (or other struggles) to define us in a negative, victimizing way (like “I will always be this way” or “nothing will ever change”), or we can allow it to grow us and change us to become stronger, more compassionate people.

I also have found my faith in Jesus through my battle with mental illness. So, in reality, mental illness is a gift that has kept giving – giving me opportunities to wrestle with God and my beliefs, to find answers (or to accept I won’t have answers!), to feel deeply, and to accept myself more fully. I have discovered my gifts and who I am – my struggles do not define me as weak, but they have allowed me to find God and my purpose in the midst of it. I would not be the kind, caring, compassionate person I am without all that I have gone through.

I share these beautiful things, but they have come from the depths of my pain, anger, shame, disillusionment, severe instability, and fears. They have come from the breaking of me – of life falling to pieces and God and I somehow slowly putting those pieces back together. I have found meaning and purpose through my breakdowns, which has created a deep well of hope and wisdom that I pray shines to others.

Mental illness has been a shaping factor in my life that has brought chaos, disaster, and healing. This cycle of pain and healing will, in some ways, always continue on this side of heaven. Jesus promises us both hope and pain on Earth. We must carry our crosses, learning to fellowship with Him in the power of His resurrection AND in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

He cares. He understands. He’s been there. Let your pain move in you in a way that heals you instead of holds you back. Take courage that this struggle you are going through is not wasted.

You Are on Your Own Journey

You are on your own journey.

God sees you as worthy.

You are on your own journey.

You don’t have to be in a hurry.

You are on your own journey.

There’s no need to worry.

God has set your path out.

So you can rest and shout.

You are on your own journey.

It is worth the learning.

Open your eyes.

And take your time.

See the jewels and gems

In the learning,

Rather than comparing to what others are doing

Focus on who you are

And where He is taking you.

And watch the fruit of life grow in abundance

And your heart will come alive as you take your own journey.

You are on your own journey.

Lean Into Your Fears

What would happen if you leaned into your fear instead of cringing back into it your fear? Fear tells us to run away and avoid, yet God calls us many times in the Bible to not be afraid.

Instead of running from our fears, we are called to face our fears, lean into them, and overcome them. We may feel fear, but we press through that to be able to do what we need to do. As Joyce Meyer says often: “Do it afraid!”

While leaning into your fear feels counter intuitive to your emotions, it’s a great way to overcome those emotions. It’s also a huge way to learn to depend on the Lord. You’re saying, “God I’m really afraid right now to take this step, but I know You are calling me to do that. So, I am trusting You to help me through this.”

Personally, God has been calling me to lean into my fears right now – fear of man, fear of the future, and fear of failure. He has called me to step out in certain areas such as relationships and ministry opportunities. I could just decide to stay home and be paralyzed by my fear, or I can take a step in the direction of that which is uncomfortable. Taking that step is hard, but as you choose to move forward in the face of your fear instead of backwards, spiritual ground is taken back from the Enemy. You will have breakthrough and freedom. It is SO worth it to fight through your human resistance and face your fear.

Recently, the Lord showed me a picture of me on a water ride – it was a scary, but I felt God inviting me to embrace the adventure of that ride and HAVE FUN! I believe God is always inviting us to embrace and enjoy our journey with Him, in spite of our fears and reservations.

So what fear is eating at you right now? Is it confronting a boss or someone you love? Is it stepping into a new job or role? Is it letting go of something you have your fingers grasped to so tightly to that you’re afraid to let go of it?

In John 16:22, Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So, don’t run away from your troubles and fears, for He is with you in them, willing to comfort you and bring you to the other side.

Father God, thank You for your deep love for me. Please help me when I feel afraid to come to You and to press through to walk into the new opportunities You have for me. When it feels uncomfortable, help me to remember that You will strengthen me to do what I am afraid of. In Jesus name. Amen. 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

Bring Your Pain Into His Presence

Pain sometimes feels like a scary monster waiting to devour me. I often run from my pain, when in actuality, if I just started to tell God about my pain, relief would come.

Pain doesn’t have to be as scary as we make it out to be. I’m in no way discounting the deep pain we go through. I certainly know through experiencing times of deep depression and despair myself. If you are in that place today, I pray God breathes new hope, life, and comfort over you.

Today, I want to bring a fresh perspective to dealing with our pain and the purpose of our pain.

In Laura Story’s book, “When God Doesn’t Fix it” she shares how pain and trials are actually an opportunity – and not a curse. Trials are opportunities for us to turn to God and find God in the midst of it.

I know when I face trials, I have a tendency to shut down, numb out, and distract myself with Facebook, Netflix, or even cleaning my apartment. It feels as if the trial is greater than God. It feels like nothing will change. It feels like God may have left me alone. Thus, it feels safer to run to these other things. And while these things may bring temporarily relief, we know the Lord is our ultimate source of comfort and strength (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

We must remember our feelings are not facts, but that God’s truth is real. So ask Him to come into your pain. Bring your pain into His presence. Something that helps me is to turn on gentle worship music. I breathe in His love, and I exhale fear. I receive His love in that moment and surrender my pain to Him. It doesn’t mean I still won’t feel pain, but God wants to take off that heavy weight over us. I also write in my journal or go over comforting scriptures. In addition, I must remember to reach out for support and encouragement to others, who can bring God’s comfort and truth into my situation.

I invite you to bring your pain into God’s presence today and find practical ways to surrender it to Him. Trust me, it will bring a load off. And if you feel stuck, reach out to a friend to help recenter you back into Truth. May God bless you today to bring your hurt into His presence that you may find comfort, hope, and peace.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

Is His Yoke Really Easy?

Recently, God challenged me if I really believed the Scripture that His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30, NIV). My flesh screamed with thoughts like, how could that be true when my life feels so hard? Yet, in this moment, I felt Him whisper, “If it’s not easy, it’s not God.” Now, keep reading, because I’m not in any way saying life is never hard or we don’t have to put effort into things – let’s unpack this and see if we can’t find a balanced, Biblical view of this verse.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

The first part of this scripture is an invitation to come to Jesus. Then, He gives us a promise of rest, followed by another invitation to take on His yoke and learn from Him. He then makes a statement of His character of gentleness and humility. Again, He promises rest. Finally, He makes an unfathomable statement: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So if we are to take on His yoke, it is easy. Really? How could that be? What if we radically believed that statement and applied it to our lives?

I don’t think easy means perfect or that it means we won’t face suffering. This scripture is an invitation to come to Him for rest and comfort IN our times of hardship and distress. God promises we will have trouble in this world, but there is an easier way. And, this scripture points to that easier way.

Do you hear Him tugging on your heart to lean into Him and find rest? I pray you would find that peaceful, true rest that only HE can give. Take comfort in Him today. Ask Him to show you what it means to rest and take on His easy yoke. He’s waiting!

 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

Restore My Passion, Lord

Isn’t it easy to let our passion for God and life dwindle? It sure is for me. Recently, I came across this scripture and it spoke volumes about the inner cry of my heart in this season:

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Psalms 51:12

Yes, I deeply want to have passion and zest for life, being hungry for God and stirred up to do the things He has called me to do. But it has been a hard journey, riddled with setbacks, discouragement, and attacks of the Enemy. It has been a day to day struggle at times to find the hope and passion for life. I’ve needed to remind myself of God’s purpose for me and why He has me here in this season.

It’s important to recognize the season you are in with the Lord, as that helps bring clarity, vision, and guidance to walk through your season. When I recognize He has me in a transition, I am able to remember that these feelings and difficulties won’t last. It is merely a season. And, there is excitement to the new season coming.

In the meantime, I position my heart for transition by staying in His presence, crying out for that passion to be rekindled. Thank goodness He gives us glimmers of hope around the corner to help us hang on.

What areas of your life need restored passion? Is it your marriage? Your job? Your relationship with the Lord? I can say that if you rediscover your purpose and passion in the Lord that the rest of the things will fall into this place.

I encourage you to use this scripture as your prayer and hearts cry to the Lord in the areas of your life where passion needs to be restored.

God, restore my passion for life that I may taste joy in every breakthrough You give me. Let me see what You see and do a work in me that only you can do. I give you all my difficult circumstances and ask You to breathe life over each one. In Jesus name. Amen. 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

Here’s some good encouragement for being an effective blogger!

The Art of Blogging

Do you want to be a successful blogger? Do ideas for posts randomly pop into your head whenever, wherever? Do you think about ways to improve your blog?

How to write more? Better? Faster?

Do you study what the most successful bloggers have done to get to where they are right now?

You are not alone. I do this too. It’s one of my passions. To see what makes the difference. What works, what doesn’t, and to understand the why. Because of this, I can write cute posts like this one.

Here are the seven best habits to have as a blogger.

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