Support

Support.W.verse

I’m used to swallowing corn, not vice versa. That’s what it felt like when my feet got sucked into the corn box. We were visiting Port Farms in Waterford, PA with our granddaughter. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to frolic in the corn box with her. The sea of kernels felt like quick sand. As I struggled to stand up, I got pulled deeper into the corn. My eighty-seven year old mother leaned over the rail and helped me stand.

Corn box at Port Farms in Waterford, PA http://www.portfarms.com/

Corn box at Port Farms in Waterford, PA
http://www.portfarms.com/

We all need support from time to time. Moms raising children with mental illness (MI) could use support. But the stigma prevents us from seeking assistance. We’re hesitant to reach out because we fear someone wouldn’t understand. Or worse, we worry we’ll be judged. And then be given unsolicited advice.

Yet, we certainly could use support. Logistically, financial, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Help tending to chores would be appreciated. Advice from someone who truly understands could be useful in making decisions (regarding treatment or mental health care providers). Assistance navigating health benefits would be a relief. Certainly a sympathetic shoulder to cry on would comfort our broken heart.

In thinking about the word ‘support’ I considered Moses. He faced a daunting task leading more than 600,000 people to the Promised Land (Numbers 11:21). He endured years of struggles because his journey continued for decades.  He learned that marathon misery can only be transformed to victory with God’s intervention. Moses witnessed God’s power, longsuffering, and faithfulness.

We can relate to a trial that seems to continue forever. We can identify with Moses’ role in managing everything. Moses was so busy tending to everyone’s needs that he didn’t realize it would lead to burn out. His father-in-law had to point out the obvious. Jethro asked Moses, “‘What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?’

“Moses answered him, ‘Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.’

“Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone (Exodus 18:14-18).’”

Sound familiar? Your family members come to you with a need and you fill it. “The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone”: did those words hit you like a sledge hammer?

Me? Not able to handle everything alone?

Jethro offered advice. He instructed Moses to, “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you (Exodus 18:21-22).”

That wasn’t the only time Moses needed support. When Moses faced the Amelekites, things didn’t go as planned.

Initially, all seemed to go well. Moses disclosed his plan, ordering Joshua to, “‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.’

“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill (Exodus 17:9-10).”

Moses lifted God’s staff for his army to see. But, like many of us, Moses got weary. His arm dropped. That presented a HUGE problem.

“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning (Exodus 17:11).”

Are you tempted to wonder what would happen if you dropped your heavy load? There’s no shame in needing support.

Moses received support from friends.

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword (Exodus 17:12-13).”

Sometimes God uses reliable friends to help us overcome our challenges.

Did you ever notice that you can manage everything until someone complains? That’s the last straw. It was for Moses.

Imagine Moses leading a multitude of people in the wilderness. Think of the logistics. Now picture tons of people lined up at Moses’ tent weeping and complaining. Hear them saying, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna (Numbers 11:5-6)!”

That was their version of what we hear from our kids: “We never have any food in the fridge!”

So Moses complained to God asking, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin (Numbers 11:11-15).”

Moses was at his wit’s end. He saw no way out and didn’t want to witness his own ruin. The Lord knew Moses needed others to share his burden. So He instructed Moses to, “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone (Numbers 11:16-17).”

Ask God to ease your burden and provide support. What is it you need from Him?

 

 

Warrior

prayer.warrior

My dad is my hero because he is a great worrier.

A great worrier? Could it be that the youngster is impressed with his father’s ability to worry?

That sentence doesn’t make sense unless you’re a second grader. It should read, “My dad is my hero because he is a great warrior.” A young boy would certainly look up to a father who is in the military.

The spelling of a word can be easily corrected. But it would be vastly harder to transform a true worrier into a valiant warrior. What if the word ‘worrier’ wasn’t misspelled? Are some people great worriers?

Moms raising kids with mental illness (MI) know about worrying. We have reason to worry. Anxiety can flood our hearts with uneasiness. We fear our child will hurt himself. Or others. We’re afraid of what will happen next. Or in the future.

Our hearts are troubled. We battle anxious feelings. Is it possible to convey how we feel when parental concern turns into consuming worry? The Online Etymology Dictionary describes what it’s like. The origin of the word comes from Old English wyrgan which means “to strangle.” What a picture! Imagine worry as an enemy reaching around your throat, cutting off your ability to breathe. Visualize your hands wringing in helplessness as you succumb to the attack. Now picture your hands folded in prayer. ‘Feel’ the relief of God releasing you from the grip of worry. Take a deep breath of His peace.

Many of our children with MI have good days and bad days. On those bad days why do we succumb to worry? Feelings of inadequacy feed anxiety. The dung of doubt tends to fertilize fears. Weeds of worry choke our resolve and crowd out His peace.

I couldn’t prevent his condition, so I won’t be able to help him deal with it.

I’ve tried everything I know to help her. I’ve done everything her psychiatrist recommended. Nothing seems to work. I’m not equipped to deal with her MI.

I can’t face another day like this. I don’t think I can go on much more.

Our home—or heart—may feel like a battle zone at times. When we feel depleted, we’re tempted to wave the white flag. And give up. Those are the times to surrender our worries to God. Leaving them at His throne. We approach Him as a worrier and leave His presence as a prayer warrior.

Our prayers release the almighty power of our Father. He reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).”

What does a modern-day prayer warrior look like? My mom is a great example. She prays unceasingly for her loved ones. Starting each day on her knees. Seeking God’s faithfulness, healing, and intervention throughout her day. Ending the day as she started: bowing before Him in prayer once again.

I’m grateful my mother has shown me how to pray faithfully for others. That’s what I love most about her. It’s been a comfort to pick up the phone during a crisis and ask her to pray. Knowing she will. My goal is to leave that same legacy of prayer to my children.

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I feel limited in what I can to do help my son. Remind me that I can provide the very best: prayers offered to You on his behalf. I’m so grateful I have access to You. Knowing You love Chris more than I could ever love him. Knowing You have unlimited power to help and protect him. Knowing You’re with him wherever he goes. Help me become a greater prayer warrior.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.  

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Listen

listen.pray

It was worse than the teacher described.

“Observe my lesson and you’ll see that Rick doesn’t pay attention—at all!” The seventh-grade history teacher invited me to see for myself what he witnessed on a regular basis. As administrator, I provided instructional support to teachers. Often classroom visitations provided insight.

On the day I observed, the teacher was reviewing for an upcoming test. Mr. Jones wrote on the smart board. The students copied. He wrote. They copied. Suddenly, he broke the pattern.

“This next fact will be on the test. Listen up!” He stated an important date in history, but didn’t write anything on the board. Not one student wrote the critical fact!

When the lesson ended and students had left, Mr. Jones was eager to hear my reactions.

“Well, did you see what I was talking about?”

“Yes. Rick wasn’t paying attention. But, you’ve got a worse problem…I’m not sure how carefully all the other students are listening.”

I didn’t drop that bomb without offering support. Soon after, I taught a mini-lesson on how to take notes. The twenty minutes I invested resulted in better note-taking skills and improved grades.

Teachers need students to listen. Likewise parents need their children to listen. Adults require kids to listen—to pay attention and to obey.

However, a child with mental illness (MI) may not have any desire to pay attention. Our son once said, “I’m apathetic. I just don’t care anymore.”

His desire to listen declined. Mine increased. I hear a sound in the middle of the night and strain to detect if there’s a problem. Chris often sleeps during the day and goes out at night. He prefers working out at his gym when there are less people around. Although he’s an adult, I still find it difficult to sleep soundly when I know he’s out.

Moms have perfected the skill of sleeping with one ear open. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines that skill as being ‘alert to catch an expected sound.’ We listen to hear the door open and close, signaling our child has arrived home.

Many moms raising kids with MI have also trained their ears to listen to the tone in the child’s voice. Subtleties in their child’s communication help a mother gauge emotional well-being. I’ve learned to be attuned to Chris’s pace of his speaking. Faster speaking lets me know his mind is racing a bit. Sometimes I can detect a slight strain in his voice which signal elevated tension. Careful listening is key.

Emotions can block careful listening in children with MI. My emotions affect me similarly. I’ve discovered they block my careful listening to God. I approach God with all my problems and sorrows. Never giving Him a chance to speak to me. I bow my head and my words are off and running. I reach the finish line and say, “Amen.” If I communicated that way with friends, I’d find myself friendless in no time!

I’m sure God has things to say to me. In my personal walk with Him, I read His messages in the Bible. And hear His direction for my life through other believers (sermons, Christian radio speakers, saved friends and family members).

I want more. I want to learn how to settle my heart before God when I pray. So I can hear what He wants to tell me. I’m finding it so hard to clear the thoughts which clutter my mind. If I can teach seventh graders how to listen better, certainly God can teach me how to hear His voice. Not receiving audible words, just connecting with His thoughts. I’m sure if I seek His help, He’ll gladly teach me how to listen to Him.

And I know He’ll do the same for you.

“Therefore consider carefully how you listen (Luke 8:18)”.

You can be sure He listens to you:

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you (Jeremiah 29:12).”

Breath

Breath.of.God

“I’m thankful I can breathe.” Who would say such a thing? Don’t we all take breathing for granted? Not a woman I know who had multiple sclerosis. Her symptoms are severe. She’s unable to walk. And she can’t talk clearly. Swallowing is difficult at times. Yet, she praises God for allowing her to still breathe. She rejoices in being alive.

Breathing is a sign of life. A breath is sometimes associated with strong emotions. A beautiful sunset can leave us breathless. In awe of God’s majesty.

Breathing a certain way can be beneficial. Taking a deep breath can restore calmness. Slow, cleansing breaths promote relaxation. Those exercises can even help distract from pain. Ask any mother who relied on them during labor.

Even young children can find breathing exercises helpful. When one of my second graders sobbed uncontrollably I’d say, “Take a deep breath….Now breathe out…Take another deep breath…And breathe out slowly…”  Gradually, they’d calm down.

That method could help a child with mental illness (MI) deal with anxiety.  Some individuals may it helpful in reducing worry and apprehension.

Breathing can be severed temporarily. By bad news. When someone is told about the sudden death of a loved one, they gasp. As if it’s impossible to take in air, while absorbing the information. Breathing is halted at the shock. Only to resume when tears begin to flow.

Do you find yourself holding your breath as you face another day? Not knowing what kind of day your child with MI will have. Not sure what will be required of you. Wondering if you’ll be up to the challenge.

As I researched ‘breath’ in the Bible, one passage described how I’ve felt at times.  It’s a familiar story in Ezekiel. The Lord gave Ezekiel a vision of dry bones being brought to life by God’s breath.

“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’

“I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’

“Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 37:1-4).’”

Those dry bones represented people who were hopeless. And lifeless.

“Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off (Ezekiel 37:11).’”

Dried up. No hope. Cut off. But God promised to breathe new life into His people.

“Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord (Ezekiel 37:12-14).’”

Moms raising kids with MI can sometimes feel dried up, without hope, and cut off.  We often need to be filled afresh with His Spirit so we can live again.

There’s hope in the breath of God. His breath has power to create. Like when He gave life to Adam:

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).”

And when He created the starry hosts:

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth (Psalm 33:6).”

Job attributed his very existence to the breath of God. He said, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4).”

Isaiah reminds us that it is God who gives breath to all people. With His almighty power, He can make all things new.

“This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles …See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you  (Isaiah 42:5-6, 9).’”

The One who gives breath will take hold of your hand.

Do you think your situation is too impossible for God? Consider the story of Lazarus. Christ breathed new life into a person without life.

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face (John 11:43-44).”

Ask God to breathe new life into you. To make something new in your situation. Be renewed with hope as you listen to Hillsong’s ‘Breathe on Me.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmxFQpSL4Bk

Never-ending

God.everlasting

Sometimes we don’t want it to end. Other times we plead for it to end. Saying, “PLEASE. Just make it stop!” It all depends on the ‘it.’

If we’re talking about our child’s mental illness (MI), we wish it would end. All of it. In that case, ‘never-ending’ has a painful connotation. It conjures up images of persistent pain, relentless unrest, perpetual prayers, unending uneasiness, and ceaseless sorrow.

Change ‘never-ending MI’ to ‘never-ending God.’ And suddenly, there’s unlimited hope. With a shift in focus comes more than we could ever imagine or need. New words fill our minds with restored hope.

Out from our cloud of darkness we see glimmers of God’s faithfulness that’s endless and ever reliable … for any situation we’ll ever have to face.

Through His Word we gaze into His heart and find love that’s unconditional and unlimited … for our child, our family, and us.

In our situations, He reveals His power that’s boundless and unconstrained … more than we’d ever before experienced.

In our loneliness, His presence is continual and all-encompassing.

Because He’s God.  Yahweh.

Ever wonder what Yahweh means? I did. In my initial search, I discovered it means “HE IS.” That made it clear as mud for me! So I dug deeper. And found a great article.

I learned a lot about the name Yahweh from Timothy Lin’s article “God’s Biblical Name ‘Yahweh’ And What It Means.” Lin explained “HE IS” this way:

“He named Himself ‘HE IS . . . ,’ an unlimited and unsearchable name bearing all the necessities of His people.  If they needed redemption, ‘HE IS Redemption’; if peace, ‘HE IS the Prince of Peace’; if help, “HE IS the Counselor.” If they were sick, ‘HE IS the Healer’; if poor, ‘HE IS the Supporter’; if in trouble, ‘HE IS the Deliverer.’”

Later in his article, Lin wrote something that grabbed my attention.

“Now, Moses came and proclaimed that he had been sent by ‘HE IS;’ that was exactly what they needed to hear. They needed a name by which all their problems would be solved and all their questions would be answered.  And here it was.

“If they would say, ‘We are too weak,’ the answer of this name would be HE IS your strength; ‘We are too poor,’ HE IS your wealth; ‘We are too ignorant,’ HE IS your wisdom; ‘We are not trained for war,’ HE IS God Almighty.

“What name could be more comforting and encouraging to those faint-hearted people? No wonder when they heard ‘HE IS’ had visited them, ‘they bowed their heads and worshipped’ (Ex. 4:31).

“No other words in the entire vocabulary of language could be better used by God to name Himself than ‘I AM’ or ‘HE IS.’

“It is a heavenly blank check. No matter how much one needs, God has reserved more than enough in His eternal bank.”

Now THAT’S something I understand: a heavenly blank check! God is all I’ll ever need Him to be. What an amazing thought: I have access to His eternal bank. And so do you!

manger2

At Christmas we reflected on Emanuel, God with us. Continue to reflect on other names of God. They will remind you of His never-ending qualities.

If you wonder if He’s abandoned you, remember He is the Living God.

If you feel like you’re groping in the dark, look for the Father of lights.

If you need someone to lean on, rest in the arms of your Heavenly Father.

If others have abandoned you, trust your Everlasting God and the King eternal. He’ll always be there.

If your situation seems impossible, leave it at the throne of the Almighty God, the God of heaven, who created all things. Nothing is too hard for Him.

If you’re worn out, enlist Yahweh Nissi: “The Lord is my Banner” to help. He’ll fight for you.

If your resources are depleted or you lack wisdom, look to Yahweh Jireh (Yireh):“The Lord will provide.” He’ll meet all our needs.

If you feel lost, trust YahwehRo’i: “The Lord my Shepherd” to find you. He’ll care for you tenderly.

If you heart’s in turmoil, seek inner calmness from Yahweh Shalom: “The Lord is Peace.”

Hillsong sings of God’s never-ending glory in their song ‘From the Inside Out.’ Unleash your soul and cry out to Him as you listen to their song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-afZJ9_TIM

 

Boast

whiter.snow

Adults tell kids not to do it, but do it themselves. Brag. Tis the season for bragging.

“I’m finished all my Christmas shopping.”

“I got a 50” TV for Christmas.”

“We have the most outdoor Christmas lights in the neighborhood.”

“I bake the best cookies—ever!”

Moms raising kids with mental illness (MI) could brag about other things:

“I survived another day with my own sanity intact.”

“In return for unprovoked anger, I answer with gentleness.”

“In spite of physical abuse, I show unconditional love.”

“Even though my spouse abandoned our child, I remained to face his illness together with him”

“Without any end in sight, my faith in the Lord remains strong.”

“I’ve worked harder at parenting without any support or compassion (due to the stigma of MI).”

“I’ve endured silent sorrow for years, longing to see my child’s smile once again.”

What would be the point of that kind of bragging?

Boasting inflates. Instead of boasting about life with MI, we can boast about God. That will reveal His power, while uplifting our spirit.

May your heart swell with renewed hope as you read these verses:

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. (Psalm 34:1-2  NKJV)”

In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever (Psalm 44:8).”

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).”

“But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:17).’”

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, in these I delight, ‘declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).”

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).”

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:10-11).”

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).’”

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace (2 Corinthians 1:12).”

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—(Philippians 3:3).”

Also:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4).”

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith (Philippians 3:7-9).”

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).”

I love the story in 1 Kings 18:24-38 where Elijah boasted about God’s power:

“‘Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.’

“Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’

“Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.’  So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

“Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. ‘Baal, answer us!’ they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel.’ With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, ‘Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.’

“‘Do it again,’ he said, and they did it again.

“‘Do it a third time,’ he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

“At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’

“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.”

Our awesome God answered Elijah’s prayer and displayed His power. And turned everyone’s heart back to God.

“When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God (1 Kings 18:39)!’”

The Lord—He is God! Amen!!!

 

Whole

heart.healed

What’s the dream of a mom raising a child with mental illness (MI)? For many of us the answer is found in the word ‘whole.’ Our greatest desire is for the broken child or family to be whole again. So our broken heart can rejoice once again.

It seems impossible to ignore the shattered pieces of a child’s life. We do all we can to put them back together again. But often feel like Humpty Dumpty’s king’s horses and king’s men who could put Humpty Dumpty together again. We would understand the cry of the king if he moaned, “What made Humpty Dumpty so fragile? Why didn’t he just roll away, unscathed?”

An army of why’s attack:

Why did this happen?

Why can’t any restore clarity of thought?

Why doesn’t anyone understand?

Why do we have to endure another holiday that’s overshadowed and complicated by MI?

Why can’t life just return to normal?

We writhe in emotional pain as we stand defenseless. Our arsenal of answers is empty. The barrage of why’s batters our soul. Leaving us secretly broken.

How can we feel whole while waiting for restoration?

If we love the Lord with our whole heart, we can crowd out sorrow. Sadness will remain, but God will refresh our soul. He did that for me as I searched His Word for verses about loving Him completely. He’ll do it for you.

Your situation may differ from mine. But God is the same. May He bless you as you read the following verses.

God requires us to love Him with our whole heart.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:).”

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12).”

“The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 26:16).”

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).’” Also found in: Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27

God blesses those who love Him with a whole heart.

“‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:4).’”

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil (Deuteronomy 11:13-14).”

“The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 30:9-10).”

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart (Jeremiah 24:7).”

“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 3:5-6).”

A prayer asking the Lord for an undivided heart.

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:11-12).”

Praise results from a steadfast love of the Lord.

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music (Psalm 57:7).”

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul (Psalm 108:1).”

“I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly (Psalm 111:1).”

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart … and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness … When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me (Psalm 138:1-3).”

Our challenge:

“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul (Joshua 22:5).”