God’s hand will guide me

Happy Good Friday, peeps. I figured a day that starts with ‘G’ is a good day to post an affirmation starting with ‘G’. As always, there are tons of things we could confess about God today. His goodness, greatness, graciousness, generosity. I challenge you to look up some of those things in your Bible and find the Scriptures that support them.

One of the most important things to me is God’s ability and desire to guide us. This life is about a relationship with Him, and that includes listening and obeying. I often feel like I don’t hear Him, but He’s so creative and knows each of His children so well that I have to trust He’ll get through to me. His hand will guide me even when I don’t know I’m following it. Even when the way seems dark, difficult, and riddled with thorns, as it has lately. So today’s confession speaks to that truth.

God’s hand will guide me.

Psalm 139 says it so well.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

These are verses 1-10, and if you have time to read the entire Psalm 139, I encourage you to do it. It’s encouraging, comforting, affirming, and convicting. And in the midst of reading it, in the midst of your day, confess the truth. God’s hand will guide me. I’ll be saying it loud and often! Then I’ll trust that He does.

Have a blessed Good Friday, and a joyful Easter. He is risen!

Where is God’s hand guiding you?

The Lord is my deliverer

It is late and my family sleeps. (Well, my littlest little fusses in bed, but she’s supposed to be asleep.) The night is dark, quiet, seemingly peaceful, but I know…

Women in my own city – in every city across the world – are held in bondage.

Children lie terrified in their beds.

Men sit with their hands fisted in their hair, fighting the urge to do something drastic to make a little money for their families.

We need deliverance, and it feels more urgent now than ever before by listening to people. We’re looking for someone to rescue us from the pain, hopelessness, and fear.

My husband and I watched The Hunger Games movie today. I’ve read the books, but one line from the movie reached out and snared me. I don’t remember if it’s in the book. President Snow says, “There is one thing stronger than fear. Hope.”

Like many people, it is at night that fear grips my heart hardest. With an unrelenting hold, it flashes my worst nightmares in front of my mind’s eye. It tells me I’m not enough, I’ll never make it, and my family will suffer unspeakable pain. I might listen but for the still small voice that nudges me to hope.

What a powerful drug hope is. It encourages us to keep going, to fight against all odds. It picks us up by the bootstraps and kicks us in the pants. That still small voice carries the promise of hope to my spirit. It reminds me that the Lord is my deliverer, and He is coming.

Psalm 18:2 makes me think of someone who has nothing left, someone who is holding on to the last thread of hope with all his might. He holds on, knowing the truth in spite of appearances. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

The Lord is my deliverer.

I don’t know why people suffer, why children are abused, or why God doesn’t just smite the offender where he or she stands. I only know the truth I choose to believe. Yahweh, God Almighty, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is my deliverer. A day will come when we don’t suffer. Children will be loved and cherished. Justice will prevail because my deliverer is coming. Will you confess it with me?

How will it change your life today to believe God is your deliverer?

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted

God is Almighty.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

He is compassionate and full of comfort.

Have you ever tried to go through the alphabet and ascribe one of God’s traits to each letter? I never did until now. It’s harder than I thought, but not because I can’t think of anything. (Okay, X and Z have me a little stumped.) I’m having trouble landing on just ONE of God’s traits for each letter. Today’s affirmation for C is no different, and maybe you have some thoughts on this one too.

I had the beautiful opportunity this weekend to talk to a few people about their fears and their deepest sorrows come to life. For one woman, it was an intense fear of heights that impacts time spent with her mother, who lives over several steep mountain passes. For another woman, it was a tragic loss that no one will ever understand. And for yet another, it was the fear of losing a loved one to the past. As I prayed for these women, God’s heart became clear. And so did today’s affirmation.

The comforter nature of God is so evident in the Bible. I could confess His Creator-nature or His companionship. I could pull out Scripture about being committed to Him, or about how He cleanses us from sin. All those things are true and worth considering. And yet, it’s His compassion that people often overlook. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Okay, kindness is a ‘k’ word, but you get the point.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Today’s confession comes from Matthew 5:4, but the Psalms are chock-full of evidence of God’s comfort.

Psalm 10:17: “LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.”

Psalm 23:4: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Psalm 94:19: “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

Psalm 119:50: “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.”

God comforts us, but what a blessing it is to comfort others in the name of the Lord. It builds my faith and reminds me of the truth. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. And for those who mourn, I pray that God’s promise comforts them, and that His comfort will give them renewed hope.

What troubles do you face today? How do you feel God’s comfort in the midst of them?

He sets my feet on solid ground

When I was pregnant with the biggest little, I worked for a publishing company. It was nearly my dream job (not counting the best-selling author dream), and I knew everything would change when the baby came. Would I go back to work after maternity leave? Would I work full-time? How could I manage work AND a baby?

God continued to reassure me in those days. I remember walking up the stairs to my department floor and looking down at my growing belly. I felt Him telling me to trust Him, that He would plant my footsteps even if I didn’t know what I was doing. What a relief! And after the baby was born, I did indeed need Him to plant my footsteps. As if everything else wasn’t enough, postpartum depression hit hard. I turned to my Bible and prayer to get through those frightening, bittersweet days. This is just one of the pieces of Scripture I relied on:

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2

What comfort to read that the Lord turned to me. I picture a loving, compassionate Savior opening His arms, offering solace and rest from the confusion. For months, I imagined Him actually planting my feet on solid ground and keeping me steady. I still picture that, especially when life looks a little too chaotic for my comfort. (That would be almost an hourly basis!)

This weekend I began chipping away at my fear issues, which brings back the need to realize how He sets my feet on solid ground. Even when I don’t know where I’m stepping or where I’m going, He knows.

He sets my feet on solid ground.

As I pursue potential leads and opportunities, I will come up against all manner of opposition. Fear is just the beginning. But He sets my feet on solid ground. Isn’t that what He’s been trying to tell me all along?

Where are your feet planted?

God answers my prayer

It’s a rare Saturday confession, people. (I hope it’s NOT rare to be confessing the truth on Saturday! Rather, hearing from me on a Saturday is not common ;). ) But I had to share this little bit while it’s still fresh.

Yesterday’s post asked if I was diluting the meaning and power of God’s word with my confessions. Reading another blogger’s post had me questioning. I know I can sound flip and sarcastic at times, but I hope to never take that attitude with the Bible or in sharing the truth with others. My purpose in ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is to overcome fear and everything else that minimizes God’s power and truth in our lives. I do that by reminding myself of what God says, and the more senses I can incorporate the better. So I read it, think it, write it, say it, and by saying it I hear it. Over and over.

As I struggled with concern yesterday, I prayed for God’s voice to be clear, to tell me His thoughts on the matter. When I had peace I opened my Bible for my regular reading and found this:

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:1-5 (NLT)

Sweet words that not only fed my spirit, but answered my call for God’s voice to be clear. And a few of you readers responded, too. That was confirmation. Thank you for sounding off!

But none of that is today’s confession. All this only illustrates today’s truth. Have you ever prayed and sat still, quiet, waiting for God to answer? Only to hear the sound of your own breathing, crickets chirping, the neighbor’s car door slamming? I’ve been there many times. Yet, the Bible says God answers our prayers! See Joshua 10:14, Judges 13:9, 1 Samuel 7:9, and Psalm 65:2 for just a few examples. Psalm 3:4 says, “I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.”

I cry out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

If you can’t remember God ever answering your prayer, I urge you to read your Bible. He often answers in the depths of those pages. Pay attention to the kind and loving words of the people around you. He might use their mouths to bring the wisdom you’re seeking. Whatever you do, keep praying and work at listening for Him. Then write it down! Too many times I go on my merry way only to complain later that He never answers my cries. Today I will record this in my Bible and remember His answer. I will confess the truth.

I cry out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

How do you remember the Lord’s answer to your prayer?

I have great joy

My littles think there’s a Spanish-speaking lady living in the back of our car.

I’ve developed the habit of keeping a bag of donation items in the car, and this particular bag has an electronic device that must be set on Spanish. As we round a corner, the lady pipes up. “Hola!” and she uses a lot of words I used to know but now can only guess at. They gasp and look at each other, eyes wide and mouths open, and my biggest little begins mimicking her in words I’ve never known. Then belly laughs fill the space around me, and my face splits in a wide grin because of the great joy God has given me.

Psalm 4:7 says, “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” While this piece of Scripture isn’t speaking directly about children, it’s the perfect confession because our children ARE from God. When we let them, they are an endless source of joy that is more satisfying than food or drink. (Er, yes. There are times we prefer food and lots of drink, such as previously mentioned screaming and water incidents. But that’s not the point here.)

I have great joy.

And if you don’t have children, God has done something different to give you great joy. Look around. Sunshine, friends, freedom, good food, a Savior.

Sometimes a good belly laugh is the only cure for life. (Well, that and dancing to Harry Connick, jr.) My littles have perfected this, and I’m learning how right they are. I’m learning to slow my mad dashing and take a few minutes to enjoy the simple things. Like a Spanish lady in the back of my car.

What brings you great joy?

The Lord protects all those who love Him

Several months ago, my husband and I watched the movie Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio. To put it simply, his character lives in a perpetual dream state. Once he seems to be awake, he wonders if he’s truly awake because his dreams were so real. It’s a fascinating movie that really messed with my mind for a few days because I dream very vividly and it seems to be a constant condition. Unfortunately, my dreams are rarely happy.

Last night’s dream was no exception. I woke in the dark, clutching the blankets and my husband’s arm, tears streaming, dragging in deep breaths like a woman starved for air. Only I was starving for reality. Today’s confession brings comfort because I know it is the truth.

The Lord protects all those who love Him.

This is taken straight from Psalm 145:20. It was tempting to make the confession, “The Lord protects me,” and He does, but I need to know that He protects all those who love Him (emphasis mine). My biggest fears involve harm to the ones I love, but if I can place them in God’s hands and trust that they have a relationship with Him, I can rest in the certainty that He will protect them far better than I can. In doing that, He protects me from destruction. I just have to trust Him.

That’s a tall order some days, trust. For that reason, I will speak this truth into my life today. I will speak it into the lives of the ones I love. The Lord protects my husband who loves Him. The Lord protects my children who love him. The Lord protects me.

What are your biggest fears?

 

God’s thoughts toward me are kind

When I was younger, my mind seemed much more organized. I could multi-task fairly well and hold a thought for longer than thirty seconds. That all changed when I had children.

After each of my littles was born, it felt like my mind was caught in the dangerous edges of a cyclone. Whipping, spinning, wild and unruly. I couldn’t grasp the simplest thing. If someone asked me what I was thinking, I was just as likely to tell them I couldn’t remember as to offer some pitiful thread of consciousness. I’m so thankful God brought me out of that. And I’m thankful for today’s confession because it illustrates the greatness of this God who loves us and calls us to Himself.

God’s thoughts toward me are kind.

Psalm 40:5 tells us that His works are wonderful. In the next sentence, we learn that His thoughts toward us are too many to be numbered. Doesn’t it follow, then, that His many thoughts toward us are wonderful? Doesn’t it also make sense that He would send His Son to die for us only if His thoughts toward us are kind?

I’ve been thinking the last few days about Valentine’s day and what it means to me, a very silly, romantic-type girl who is married to a very logical, un-romantic-type man. In a nutshell, it means I can plan my own gift if I want one and he doesn’t even realize February 14th is marked in red and pink. But God is the ultimate love. He is patient, forgiving, and just. His gifts and His call can never be removed. His love is everlasting. And His thoughts toward me are kind.

Will you include God, the ultimate love, in your Valentine’s day plans?

I will rejoice

I hate resolutions. They’re counter productive and they make me feel like a mess.

But this year, in keeping with my no-fear mindset, I resolved to have a resolution. Just one because there’s no need to stress myself out, right? Besides working on ‘fraidy cat issues, there’s a lot I’d like to accomplish this year: publishing my books, writing a new book, continuing my blog, home improvements, better organization, a sense of humor. Yeah. Just one resolution because this list is stressful.

A few days earlier, my husband and I realized that in this very chaotic time of our lives, we need to work on having a sense of humor. Some people find joy an easy state to achieve. They laugh all day and find something funny in everything. Let’s get one thing straight. That. Person. Is. Not. Me.

So is it sad that I skipped right over sense of humor in my resolution list because it’s just too hard? Much easier to create a list of things to do and get busy. I can cross each job off my list when it’s complete. So satisfying! But it’s not laughter or joy…

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” That’s so decisive. I love it. There is another piece of Scripture that comforts my heart and speaks to me in a more personal way. “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” Maybe that one from Psalm 31:7 speaks to you, too. Knowing that the living God cares about my troubles and loves me makes the world a more bearable place. It makes today’s confession possible.

I will rejoice.

Whatever life (or one of my littles) throws at me today, I will rejoice. It will take time to make this an automatic response, but because of His unfailing love I know it’s possible.

Can you rejoice in spite of your troubles today?

I trust you, O Lord

Today is my biggest little’s birthday. It’s a bittersweet day for me because I remember life before he came to us, and I remember his birth, and I remember too easily the jumble of my mind in the months that followed.

My kids are three of God’s greatest gifts in my life. They shower me with His love and devotion and they give me a reason to press through difficulties. Their smiles and laughter make even the greyest day brighter. While this has been true since I first held them, the months immediately after they were born defy words.

Excruciating. Confusing. Intense fatigue. And fear like I’ve never known. What if something happens to them? What if something happens to ME? Who will take care of them? Will they know and love Jesus? A thousand other terrifying scenarios played through my head every day. Not one of them could I foresee, prevent, or control. It became – and to this day remains – an issue of my trust in God.

As I remember my first days of motherhood, fear tries to wrap itself around my heart and head again. Back then I couldn’t even see clearly enough to turn to the Bible for perspective and truth. But today I can. Psalm 31:14 says, “But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying “You are my God!” And a confession of truth changes the fear in my heart to faith.

I trust you, O Lord.

It takes conscious effort to trust God sometimes. Obedience to willfully turn from what I fear and choose to believe He will take care of my family with love and kindness. But we must turn from what is slowly killing us and embrace the One who loves us.

My prayer is that I gift my children with faith in the living God, that I teach them to turn from fear and embrace Him. It is the best gift I can imagine giving them.

What do you fear? Do you trust God in the midst of it?