He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” We used to say it together before bed when my sister and I spent the night.

Those formal words from the King James version still bring me comfort and peace.

Many years later, 20 weeks pregnant with my youngest child, I began memorizing Psalm 23. I needed an extra avenue for comfort and peace. Together, they served me well in very trying times, and I meditate on Psalm 23 almost every day now. One of the things I love most is its all-encompassing nature. It truly tells of God’s sovereignty, love, power, protection, and generosity.

As we move into the future, I know more than ever that I must rely on the Lord for my every need. When I am hungry, He provides. When I am afraid, He strengthens. When I am hurting, He comforts. When I am confused, lost, or overwhelmed, He restores.

And when I trust Him, He anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows. So today’s confession is a reminder to trust Him with everything.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Power, peace, and protection. This line gives me a visual of tipping my head back and allowing Him to pour thick, amber colored oil over my head. It seeps down to my skin and saturates me. It affects everything I do and think. Just as the Holy Spirit should affect me.

When I move in this anointing, I don’t have room to fear. I view people and life through His filter. The world is not a frightening place. Instead every interaction becomes an opportunity to point back to Him. I will confess this today and I will live in His power, peace, and protection.

What is your favorite part of Psalm 23?

I will call on the name of the Lord

I’m a strong believer that faith in God is far-reaching. Farther than we can begin to comprehend, in fact. I’ve talked to so many people who seem to believe that God’s help is limited to the spiritual realm. Salvation, grace, mercy, all that intangible stuff.

I disagree.

The Psalms are full of confessions that God saves, that He is a very present help in time of trouble, that He watches over us. While we put our trust in Him for the afterlife, not many of us put our trust in Him for THIS life. And we get caught up in bad decisions or poor thinking that seems to rule every earthly action. (I’m so talking to myself here.)

Negativity and depression want to rule my life. Wallowing in poor decisions of the past, I’m in danger of missing the glory and power He has for me today. What a perfect time to give those decisions, mistakes, and regrets to Him! Today’s confession, from Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13, relieves me of the guilt and shame of the past.

I will call on the name of the Lord.

When I doubt His promise to deliver me, I will confess this truth. And I’ll turn to Psalm 121 for reinforcement. Especially meaningful to me is verse 5: “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” It gives me visions of being hidden in His shadow. The enemy passes right by, never even seeing me, because the Lord hides me in a protective shade.

I will call on the name of the Lord today. I will not fear because He stands beside me.

Do you believe God’s help is limited to spiritual things, or does He ever intervene in a tangible way?

 

The Lord my God is a merciful God

Mighty. Merciful. Majestic. Miracles. Music. Mountains. Messiah.

Tonight, my husband and I enter sleepless night forty-two with the littlest little. I’m exaggerating, but only because I lost count how many nights we’ve been up. I pray for God to perform a mighty miracle and be a supernatural tranquilizer for her. (As I write this, it’s after 10PM and she’s delaying sleep by giving me another ‘M’ word I could be thankful for. “Here, Mom. I have a message for you.” So far she’s given me five messages. Pretend slips of paper that she pushes into my hand with a knowing, but sincere, smile. Maybe the Lord will speak to her and she will be His voice, giving messages to people all over as she grows. Yeah. I’m tired. Work with me.) Joshua 24:17: “For the LORD our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us.”

I believe in miracles. I do. It’s just been a long time since I saw one in the form of my children sleeping peacefully all night.

I know we’re not alone in our struggles. Not just that God carries us, but that others walk through so many hardships – and many that are much more devastating than mine. I can’t forget the heart-wrenching sorrow of a friend who can only wish her son was still alive to keep her awake at night. When I think of all those who have pain far deeper than mine, I pray for God’s mercy to be upon them, for His majesty to surround them, and for the Messiah to be present with them. I pray that He would move mountains and reveal Himself.

In light of that, today’s confession calls on the mercy of God. Deuteronomy 4:31: “For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”

The Lord my God is a merciful God.

There are times it feels like this world will destroy me. I know people think they’ve been abandoned by God, that He forgot His promises. If that’s you tonight, please know what the Bible, His Holy word, says. He is merciful. He will not abandon you or destroy you or forget His promises. Confess the truth and rest. The Lord my God is a merciful God.

Do you feel abandoned, destroyed, or forgotten?

He keeps every promise forever

Twenty-one years ago, God promised me a son. Fourteen years ago today, when my husband and I said our vows, He kept that promise with my stepson. I’ll call him the biggest big. At 6’5″ and still growing, he’s much bigger than any big I know! I didn’t realize it at the time, but this biggest big would become one of the biggest blessings in my life. (Okay, I didn’t mean to do that. God must have something BIG in mind for us today, huh?) Anyway, this big has become my son in every way, and I love him to pieces.

Then four and a half years ago, God kept His promise again by giving me another son, the biggest little. Abundant blessings! (Talking of abundance, He gave me a surprise blessing with my daughter, the littlest little. I can’t leave her out of this because she reminds me of today’s confession with every smile.)

God has kept other promises in my life, but sadly I haven’t recorded most of them. One of the things I’d like to start with my littles is a sort of altar to the Lord, where we keep a basket of rocks with numbers on them and a notebook nearby. Each time a promise is realized, we’ll write a number on a rock and record it in the notebook. What better way to remember His faithfulness? (And thanks to my Bible study teacher for this idea.) I’m still waiting on some promises to be fulfilled, but I know He’ll do it. So today’s confession speaks to that (and to the ‘K’ in our line of affirmations).

He keeps every promise forever.

According to Psalm 146:6, God is a promise-keeper. He’s a heart-keeper. He’s a spirit-keeper. In other words, He keeps us in such an all-encompassing way we can’t wrap our brains around it in this life. He keeps every promise forever. I encourage you to start a notebook and record the promises He’s kept to you. I’m going to go celebrate another one: my wedding anniversary with the man He promised to me. Keep confessing, y’all!

What promises has God kept in your life?

Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

He is the Lord who heals me

I told my sister this morning that being an adult is far harder than I thought it would be. Must we choose between our dreams and reason?

When I was younger, I watched my mom and dad do the things parents do. I never wondered if they had dreams, but I wonder now. They went to work, probably paid all the bills, cooked meals, cleaned the house, set healthy boundaries for us, and generally gave me a wonderful, wholesome, sheltered childhood. They argued, but they laughed too. I remember game nights (Scrabble from the vantage point of Dad’s lap, anyone?) and bacon waffles for dinner. I remember feeling safe. Loved. Unafraid.

Then I grew up and realized I had to do what they did. And I might have to choose between my dream or living responsibly.

I’ve been editing my second novel and trying to get started on the path of public speaking while taking care of two littles who are by nature demanding, loud, and cuter than anything I’ve ever seen. Is the responsible thing to continue pursuing my dream, believing God will show favor? Or am I to abandon it and the faith that I can do all things through Jesus Christ? Life is uncertain. I struggle with depression, discouragement, anger, and a boatload of disbelief.

But I don’t have to live with it.

Today’s confession is important because it proclaims the truth about God’s power and promise in light of my struggles. Exodus 15:26 says, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

The first part of that is important because it leads to the second part. It tells me what I have to do to get the promise. If I listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God. Do what is right in His sight. Obeying His commands and keeping His decrees. The promise is protection. And today’s confession is deliverance.

He is the Lord who heals me.

Whatever my struggle, He is the Lord who heals me. Uncertainty, depression, discouragement, anger or doubt, none of these things are bigger than my God. He is the Lord who heals me. Whatever you fight today, know that God is capable and desires to heal you. Confess the truth and keep the faith that He loves you and wants to bring bountiful blessings to you. Then step out in that faith and expect them to happen.

What is your big dream? Are you doing something to make it happen?

The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy

I have trouble believing in myself. My abilities, however developed or natural, do not speak to my brain and convince me that I can accomplish much. It’s ridiculous to feel such self-pity and depression when I have so much to be thankful for, but the day can be wasted fighting for the slightest sliver of joy. It impacts my life, my husband’s life, and the lives of my littles.

I’m praying for that to change, and I think it begins with one word.

In searching for today’s confession, it seemed that one word jumped out at me over and over.

Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

Everlasting life (Galatians 6:8).

Everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Everlasting kingdom (Psalm 145:13), peace (Psalm 22:26), and joy (Isaiah 35:10).

According to the news reports, three people won the largest lottery in history this weekend. Over $200 million goes to each winner, and so much money must be hard to spend, right? But it’s not everlasting. It will come to an end.

Besides my own pity party, I look at the world around me, at the lives of people I love, and see heart-wrenching pain. Brokenness, confusion, isolation, and destruction seem to have no end. But they do end. They are not everlasting.

It gives me comfort and hope that something worthy in this life is everlasting. (The keyword there is worthy, by the way.) And two pieces of Scripture give me a window into a world that far exceeds this one.

Isaiah 40:28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Isaiah 51:11 Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy.

That’s a powerful confession to me because I find joy hard to come by. When I feel defeated or hopeless, I’ll proclaim this truth. The everlasting God will crown me with everlasting joy, and I will move in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to believe in myself as long as I believe in Him.

Do you struggle to find joy in your life?

I will find grace when I need it most

Every day that passes convinces me more that this life is not easy (perhaps not meant to be easy), and then I read a beautiful blog post that puts it all into perspective. Check out this post by Beth Vogt for a dose of fresh insight today. It really blessed me. And stay tuned next week for a guest post by Beth. Can’t wait for that!

Today I want to propel myself – and everyone else – into the weekend with one more powerful thought on God’s grace. It comes at an especially challenging time for me, which makes it all the sweeter. My dear husband continues to fight the battle in repairing his knee, and my littles fight battles against each other and me. For an overly sensitive girl, it can be difficult to push past their emotions and remember my place in the kingdom. That’s one reason I’m so thankful for my Bible. It reminds me of God’s grace.

I’m starting to equate grace with strength. Yes, it means free and unmerited favor, but if God’s favor doesn’t give me strength then nothing will. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to the very throne of God, not with heads hung low and fearful. What greatness is it that allows the created to approach with assurance and confidence the Creator? Only our God. I read this and realize that He hears my prayers. He sees my situation. He offers grace and strength to continue serving Him in spite of appearances.

I will find grace when I need it most.

With prayer, my husband will heal. By God’s grace, my littles will outgrow this stage of defiance and sibling rivalry. And by His grace, I will be strong and continue serving them in His name.

Whatever your situation looks like today, approach the throne boldly, with reverence and belief in His love for you. Ask for the things you need. Trust that He hears you. Then go share His grace with someone else in need.

What does grace look like to you?

 

God has a plan for me

I’m a planner. Day planners are some of my favorite things. I fight fits of ecstasy when I walk through the bookstore or the school supply aisle and see rows and stacks of day planners. I like to write in them with different colors, or scribble a single sentence about my day or my thoughts at a particular time, almost like a journal.

Lists are good, too. I l.o.v.e. looking at a list and seeing everything crossed off. There is such a sense of achievement! I even have special paper and pens for making lists and crossing off completed jobs. Yes, plans are good.

In spite of my best efforts, my plans don’t always work. Life happens. Littles scream. Obstacles pop up and demand priority. Things on my list fall to the bottom, get moved to a different list, or get forgotten entirely. As frustrating as that is, I take comfort in today’s confession.

God has a plan for me.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God speaks to Israel about His plans. We can read this piece of Scripture and know that it applies to all believers. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” And we can rest assured that God’s plans always work.

So even when my lists are incomplete, scribbled messes, and my plans fall through, God has a plan for me. His plan is for good and not disaster. He gives me a future and hope in Jesus Christ. Knowing that, I can live confidently in His power.

Are you a planner? How does it feel knowing that God has a plan for you?

If God is for me, who can be against me?

I love Chris Tomlin’s song, Our God. It reminds me of the power of the Almighty God, of His miracles, of His love. “Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind. There’s no one like you, none like you. Into the darkness you shine, out of the ashes we rise. There’s no one like you, none like you.”

And the chorus is straight from Romans 8:31: “And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

What power we have in a relationship with God! If He is for us – and we know He is because He sent His Son to die for us – what in the world could stop us? Have you given that thought lately? It’s the confession I’m running with into the weekend. I’m taping it to my bathroom mirror, the window above my kitchen sink, and my car dashboard.

If God is for me, who can be against me?

He is good and kind and generous. He is power and grace and love. God is FOR me. Who could stand against that? My prayer is that we realize the enormous strength and love that formed a universe from nothingness, and that we allow it to empower us in His love. Be blessed with that this weekend, dear readers.

Do you believe God is for you? What stands against you?