How To Give When We Feel Empty

I don’t have anything else to give.
I’m tired of trying.
I’m done.

Do you have anyone in your life who is just hard to love sometimes?  We try. We pray. We seek advice or perspective from others. We try again . ,. and sometimes we get tired of trying.

God knows we are going to struggle to love others sometimes, just like others are going to struggle to love us at times.

We pour out all that is in us—We encourage, help, listen, share time, try to be thoughtful, and express love. Yet, as we pour or give, we empty.  When we experience hurt or offense in the form of absence of appreciation, indifference, criticism, or judgment, it’s like the faucet gets turn on full blast. We’re drained dry. Our feelings of love and our desire to give deplete.

We are not created with a limitless reservoir of love inside. God IS the reservoir. “God is love.” (1 John 4.8b)

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4.16)

We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.

Have you come to know God’s love for you?

Do you believe He loves you as much as much as You’ve heard He does?

As we seek to know God, he grows our understanding of how great his love for us is.  It’s humbling to recognize how conditional our feelings can be.  And it’s a relief to discover that God’s love for us and in us is intended to be the means for relationship with others—not how we feel in the moment.

You and I are made to be loved by God.
Say it out loud… I was made to be loved by God.

Slow down and let this truth move from your mind into your heart.  Invite God to sink this amazing truth into the deepest place of your heart—God, You loved me as you formed me, and You want me to enjoy Your love every day.

When we draw deeply from the reservoir of God’s love for us, His love flows through us. He replenishes our exhausted heart.

Filled with God’s love, we can release to Him the hurt or offense, and forgive.

Filled with God’s love, we can experience His healing, strengthening, and grace to begin anew.

Filled with God’s love, we can have a conversation with that person and remain calm.

Filled with God’s love, we can love our child through his rebellious days, just as God loves us through ours. Our child experiences, “I’m for you. I love you. I’m not going anywhere.”

Filled with God’s love, we love WITH HIS LOVE.

God’s love transforms hearts, beginning with ours.  When we draw from His reservoir, and let His love fill us full, it’s His love that overflows to others.

Dear God,
Thank you for your love. Help me come to know and believe more fully your love for me. Please remind me to draw from your unending reservoir of love, and help me be a vessel of Your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Best Way To Work Through

What are you trying to work through?  If you’re like me, often it’s not just one thing. Whatever it is, it can consume our thoughts, drain our energy, and sink us low.

. . . heartbreak . . .a frustrating job . . . an unfair outcome . . . financial issues . . . a stressful relationship . . . an ongoing health matter . . . overcoming a fear . . . completing something  . . .a devastating loss.

I have been studying the book of Haggai, a two-page history near the end of the Old Testament. It’s been several years since I read it, and I thought I’d zip through in a couple of days. I was wrong. God is holding me in His words here, helping me learn more deeply Who He is and how He loves us. God speaks through the prophet Haggai and tells His people to first consider their past way of living and now to consider Who He is and how He wants them to live forward, how they are to work now.

And when God knew He held their attention, He assured them of His love: “I am with you, declares the LORD.” (Haggai 1.13)

Their obvious work is to rebuild God’s temple, a daunting and monumental job. Yet, I imagine among all these workers, they are working through personal struggles with any number of the themes listed above–not to mention the fear of attack from enemies. God knows this. He sees their heart and assures them of HIs commitment to them.

God sees how you and I sometimes work through things—by self-determination, by denial or avoidance, by complaining, judging, or jealousy. He sees our fear, grief, anger, or waning hope. I have wasted much time working through circumstances and relationships leaning on my emotions, on what I think, on whatever evidence is tangibly in front of me—rather than leaning in to God who is right here with me.

God loves us in our weakness, even when we lean away from Him. He doesn’t scold or shame us. He doesn’t ridicule or react as though He’s surprised by our behavior. He doesn’t leave or step back to give us space to figure out that we need Him. God remains near. He keeps His word:

“I am with you, declares the LORD.”

Back to Haggai…  God speaks again to His people, as they work.  “Be strong . . . Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts . . . My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.” (Haggai 2.4-5)

This. God is making us strong warriors.
He assures us that we can be strong as we work through anything because He is with us, because His Spirit is in our midst.

God knows the strength you and I need when circumstances wear us down or cause us to worry, to fear. He wants us to rest secure in His strength. How do we get there? We practice every day by getting to know Him through His Word, talking to Him, and learning to listen to Him.

This strength He calls us to is poured in to us and grown as we walk with Him. His pour is not like an energy drink that lasts for a few hours. When you and I lean in to Almighty God, He provides a sustaining stamina that compels awe in us.

When we depend on God’s strength, trusting HIs presence with us, His peace transcends the circumstance and He grows our faith to trust, He’s got this. We partner with Him and work through—and continue to become who He created us to be, all to His glory.

Dear God,
I don’t want to work through any thing on my own anymore. I am sorry for all the times that I have leaned away from you, rather than toward you. Thank you for your patient love. Thank you that you are always with me, in my midst. Help me believe this and trust you more. Amen.

On Waiting For A Convenient Time

When I was 30, I received my first Bible. It wasn’t something that I’d always wanted; rather, I was curious about something my husband valued—spending daily time reading it. That was a new, unfamiliar, and to be honest, overwhelming idea to me. Even after he gave it to me, several days passed before I made time to give it a try. . . .You would think I was about to attempt reading a foreign language! (All of that story is in my book Becoming A Peaceful Mom.)

That particular time is my life was the most challenging season I had ever faced. In my head, I pushed back, rationalizing that giving some of my time to study scripture would just have to wait. Yet a yearning stirred in my heart, that I felt I had to respond to. There wasn’t a convenient window of time that presented, nor has there been since. I determined to take this step and God made the way.

Why am I sharing this now—at the beginning of December, when the added flurry of gift buying and decorating abounds—as yet another thing to build into your day?

Because . . . This life is busy all the time and hard a lot of the time.

Because . . . God wants to lead you and me through the busy and hard, such that we learn to abide in His Life in us.

Because . . . The world broadcasts many messages that distract us from the most important relationship we are created to have and the most important message we are to believe.

Because . . . God wants you to known Him personally—to know His character, His voice, and the depth of His love for you, for me.

Beginning with the Book of Ruth, I roamed through books of my Bible, journaling facets of God’s character portrayed in amazing and true stories. The more I read, the more I realized how much I didn’t know about God—things He said and did. The more I read the more I was gratified, as He helped me grasp how much He loves me, loves us.

My hesitant start to open God’s breathed-words, became a passionate personal pursuit to know Him. I had no idea what I had been missing. I had no idea how much more this relationship could be. I had no idea of how powerfully God moves through His words.

“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3.16–19)

Lovingly, God waits for us to decide to give Him some of the time that He has given us. He knows our hurdles, as He knew mine. He will lead you through—even during the added busyness of this season.

Dear God,
You see my heart and my thoughts, and you love me right where I am. Thank you. Help me step closer to You, to know you. Amen.