Day By Day

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This week has been a heavy week.  A few families I know (my family being one of them) are really suffering right now grieving the loss of a loved one or going through a very difficult time in their family life at home.  I feel like nothing I say will ease their pain or make them feel any better.  The last thing they want to hear is “They’re in a better place” or “God has a bigger plan” or “You’ll get through it.”  What do we say to people that are hurting to their core and are battling depression or trying to understand why their loved one was stripped from their life so suddenly?  Maybe all they need to know is that we love them and that we are there.

I was messaging a family member and she mentioned that she’s getting through it one day at a time, then later that day I read a hymn entitled “Day By Day.”  I thought of her and how all the people I love that are grieving right now are probably just trying to get through this day, then tomorrow they’ll try to get through another day, then another.  Sometimes, they are moments by moments.

The author of the hymn “Day By Day,” Lina Sandell Berg, was 26 years old when she accompanied her father on a trip to Gothenburg, but the ship they were on suddenly lost control and Lina’s father fell overboard and drowned right before her eyes.  Through that tragedy came forth this song:

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best–
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev’ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in eve’ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

I marvel at the strength people exude in times of deep pain.  God promises that His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), so I hope and pray these verses bring some kind of comfort in these times of deep suffering.

Psalm 72: 20-21 “You who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness and comfort me on every side.”

Job 5:18 “For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.”

Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Joshua 1:9 “…Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 67:1-2 “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.  That Your way may be known on earth.  Your salvation among all nations.”

Psalm 71:3 “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.”

Who I Am

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I recently read a blog that spoke so vividly about the realities of being a mom and it so clearly depicted what many of us go through when it comes to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unsatisfied and sometimes depressed (I have posted the link of the blog below).  The author mentioned the story of the prophet Elijah depicted in 1 Kings 17-19.  As I read through the passage, I couldn’t help but notice how if I were Elijah I sure would be struggling with a sense of identity once all of the busyness and excitement of being God’s spokesman, serving the Lord, experiencing God’s provisions, killing bad guys, raising a dead boy, traveling all over in obedience to God, performing miracles, calling down fire from heaven, etc. had been put on pause.

Once he had “accomplished” all of those things, one woman, Jezebel, threatens him because of his opposition to pagan worship and he loses all confidence and flees in fear. He basically asks God to take his life and doubts much about himself and God.  He travels in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  Yet, in the midst of his fear, doubt and loneliness, God reveals Himself to him and calls out to Elijah in a quiet voice and reassures him that God is not done with him.  He is to use Elijah to anoint Hazael and Jehu as kings and Elisha as prophet.

How quickly we forget God’s faithfulness in the past that it so easily affects how we view the future.  It’s easy to say: “I can’t do this anymore.  I’m the only one who knows what this feels like.  I’m defeated and I need an escape.”  What a victorious life Elijah lived and how quickly that turned to defeat and fear.

I can’t help but struggle with my sense of identity when my accomplishments are merely a memory or printed on a resume.  Being a mom has been more rewarding than I could’ve imagined, but there are times when you feel so lonely, overwhelmed and insignificant that you forget that God is still there in the midst of the mundane and lack of “amazing” accomplishments.  I keep wanting to tie my sense of self-worth to what I’ve accomplished in my past from counseling, evangelizing, teaching, traveling the world doing missionary work, leading worship, being involved in theatre and acting where people would give standing ovations for your performance, being an active singer and musician…I miss the accolades, the recognition and sense of accomplishment, but at the end of the day, unless my heart is in the right place what does it matter?  Do I seek to bring glory to God or myself?  Although performing different tasks now-a-days like wiping bottoms, keeping a budget, trying to be creative in making daily meals, running errands, cleaning throw up and doing piles of laundry are less glamorous than the former, God is using all of that to minister to my family.  I may not feel very significant, but my family does appreciate what I do and that’s where God has me in this season.  I need to be faithful in the little and the big stuff.  This is my ministry at the moment and I know God is not done with me.

In the midst of our fears, doubts, anxieties, dissatisfaction and feelings of inadequacy God is still there faithfully calling us and drawing us to Himself.  I know God still wants to use me in other ways, but as Psalm 51:10 says: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  I want my heart to be in the right place and be faithful where God has me because He has ALWAYS been faithful and will continue to be faithful in my life.

My identity and who I am should not be tied to what I do or my accomplishments, but rather, whom I belong to and what He does and has done. My sense of self-worth will be apparent when I stop focusing on myself and stay focused on God’s majesty, grace and goodness.

Psalm 139: 23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Proverbs 3:3 “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Reference to Blog Post:

To the Mom Who Is Exhausted, Depressed, and Completely Overwhelmed