Why Are You Downcast, Oh My Soul?

There are times winter sets up camp in my heart and it seems as if I am in Narnia, where Christmas never comes. The bleak dark clouds of relentless sadness seem to wash over my mind as I battle with sin. The coldness of my heart toward the goodness of God makes my soul ache as I cry out to the Lord, to warm it once again at the fires of His Word.

I find these times of coldness to be extremely difficult and I seem to daily battle with myself. I know the truth, that God loves me, cares for me and desires to have me near Him, but my angry, selfish, sinful heart wants to push Him away.

Psalm 42:11 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.”

How does one find their way out of the darkness of a downcast soul? We have to preach truth to ourselves through God’s Word! Personally, it is a struggle to open the pages of God’s Word when I have allowed the sin of despondency into my mind. The moment I open the pages of God’s Word I am washed over by truth of it and that, my friend, is when I see the ugliness of my heart.

Psalm 42 opens with, As a deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;

I am reminded to BEG God to help me to turn to Him and desire Him when my soul wants to turn inward into myself. I need to literally turn my mind toward Christ and the truths of His Word. For example, Colossians 3:2-3 tells me to “set my mind on the things above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” A commentary I read said the word set can also be, to think or to have inner disposition, this disposition should point us toward he things of heaven. These verses should cause one to ask, What is taking my thoughts of Christ and dethroning Him in my mind? What situation is now greater than Christ? Why am I unable to see Christ through the haze of my circumstance?

I am thankful that the Psalmist in 42 was honest and poured out his heart. There is sometimes a perception that we as believers can’t be sad or struggling, but God’s Word gives us glimpses of others who have had moments when their souls were struggling. The Psalmist in 42 gives us the answer we so desperately need in verse 11. Our hope is in God!

How do we hope in God when we are personally struggling? I don’t know about you but I ask the Lord for it. God’s Word tells us, we have not because we ask not, and believe me, God gives hope abundantly to those whom ask Him for it.

I flipped back from chapter 42 to chapter 40 and read this, ” I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of destruction , out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.” I need to remember what God has ALREADY done for me! What has He done? First, He saved me from my sin and made me righteous because of Christ. He brought me out of the pit of sin and miry clay that had entangled me. He took my unstable self and placed it upon a firm rock! He put a NEW song in my mouth, a song of praise to Him, when before that my mouth was full of self and cursing. The first step for me to get out of despondency is to remember what God has already done for me.

The second thing I do to be renewed and is begin to be refreshed by His Word. I run to the book of Psalm and bath my mind in the truths there. Psalms reminds me to to praise the Lord, share my heart with my God and then to keep praising Him. They help me to remember how to praise Him when my soul is struggling. There are times where I just open Psalms and read it out loud because while I want to praise God, my soul struggles to come up with the truth. If I read the Bible out loud I am proclaiming truth about Him and praising Him and it brings healing to my bones.

Psalm 40:11 days ” You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your loving kindness and your truth will continually preserve me.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that God preserves us and shows compassion on us when we struggle? I am so grateful to know He keeps and preserves me.

Friend, trust in the Lord when you are downcast and ask Him to lift your head! Preach truth to yourself and remember, His steadfast love is better than life, (Ps. 63:3) forget none of His benefits, forgiveness of sin, healing of disease, REDEEMED your life from the pit and crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. (Ps 103) He Daily bears your burden (Ps. 69) He is your portion (Ps. 73) He is ready to forgive those who call on Him (Ps. 86) I could go on and on of the truth in His Word about what He has done and is doing for me and you!

Why at are you downcast, O my soul? HOPE IN GOD!

Be encouraged today!

Brandy

Resources for you if you are struggling with depression and despondency.

Biblical counselors near you

Booklet on Depression

This was written on an app so forgive typos and incomplete sentences. It’s hard to edit things on a car ride on an iPhone!

Our Help Comes From the Lord

Psalm 121:1-2 “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

I am grateful to the Lord when I read verses like these. The Word of God asked a question and then gave an immediate answer to it. I find such hope and joy in that. Life brings difficult situations and hard realities when we may least expect them. You might be in a place where you see no hope and are feeling completely rejected. Take a moment to be thankful to the Father for His life giving Words in the Bible.

God’s word says, our help comes from the Lord. I was mediating on those words BUT as I read on I saw MORE to the answer on that helping portion of the verse. Yes, our help comes from the LORD Who made heaven and earth, BUT our helper, sustainer, keeper, is the ONE WHO MADE heaven and earth! He is the Creator. We must then ask ourselves, Is His power diminished that He can’t help us? Is He to weak? Is His arm to short? No and No and NO! He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Our situations can cause our minds to cloud out His glory and immutiblity and think, He is not moving or doing anything, BUT He is. His plans and purposes continue forward and they are always for His glory! We must sit quietly in His Word and on our knees as we allow Him to let us be sifted and tried by affliction. Affliction should drive us toward Him and not away from Him. What a beautiful place to be in the care of our Savior when the winds of trial batter our sails.

Sweet friend, in the midst of today’s difficulty, whatever it may be, remember your suffering Savior. Remember what He did for you at the cross in bringing you salvation. He did that so that you could be reconciled to Him and that you now are in His care. Trust in Him.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

1 Peter 5:6-7  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,  casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Be of good cheer knowing the Lord is your help,

Brandy

God’s Word is Refreshing

I’ve been preparing for a time teaching mom’s at CHAP home-school convention and I found some thoughts I had written some months ago. They were so encouraging to me this morning as I remembered the time I had spent in the Word before I penned these words. May they encourage you to be in His Word like they did me.

My dryness, my brokenness is freed by Christ.

Personal devotions and time alone in God’s Word bring the monsoon of refreshment to the parched land of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10-11

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

When rain comes it replenishes the dry land, it soaks the soil, gives the roots a drink, which nourishes the plant, which produces the flowers. This is the same thing that happens to our hearts when we rain the Word of God down into it. God’s Word changes what it touches, God restores beauty and produces fruitfulness in your life. It does the work that the Lord has sent it out to do.

This in turn brings glory to God.

Be in the Word today.

Brandy

Drive Thru History: The Gospels

the gospels

Mom Friends!

I have come up with a great way to do family devotions for 18 weeks with minimal preparation for myself and I want to pass this information on to you. Hallelujah! I find it difficult to gather up the kids for a time of worship on a daily basis. It is challenging to find material that I can use effectively, I get side tracked easily, and lets not even talk about the kids “fighting” that begins when we try have a time of worship.

I have used, Drive Thru History: The Gospels, for our family time and it has been a true blessing. Dave Stott and Cold Water Media have put together a DVD series that is absolutely amazing, Biblically accurate, and engaging for the whole family. The series takes you through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, so by the time your family is done wit the series you will have been through the whole life of Christ. I have 8 kids and I admit I did not do a great job giving my older children the gospel when they were at home. It is something that I am asking the Lord to fill the gaps in. This series, The Gospels, will help you give the gospel message to your children in a way that will help open their eyes and ears to the message of Jesus our Messiah, His earthly ministry and ultimately his Resurrection!

The DVD’s are 30 minutes long and the series comes with a small booklet in the center of it and is used as a springboard for your time of reflection. The questions are simple yet profound and useful for your christian walk. Each episode has Bible readings that go along with the DVD and you can pull Bible memory out of those readings.

Your usage of this series is dynamic and can be done any way that works for your family. I used the DVD on Monday, questions on Tuesday, Bible readings on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday was a time of review and conversation about the series. The Gospel’s made it so easy to get time in the Word and share about my love for Jesus with the kids on a weekly basis that I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for the time we are sharing as a family about Him.

Family devotions are vital for spiritual growth within your family. If you have never done devotions with your family, this is a great place to start. It’s never to late to begin to cultivate a greater love for the Lord in your home.

Email me or leave me a message in the comments and I will help you get a copy of this into your hands for $69.99 shipping included!

Onward and Upward,

Brandy

Encouraging Your Children in the Gospel

Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today”, so that none of you will be hardened but the deceitfulness of sin.”

There are times as a mom that I have been frustrated at how many times I have had to tell my children the same things over and over. I feel like there comes a point where they should just “GET IT” and they don’t. This ranges from clean your room to have you done your devotions? I get tired. I get angry. I get heart sad.

God’s Word is merciful to encourage a worn out mom to do the right things. When I read the words, TAKE CARE, my heart melted within me. I knew I had not been taking care of giving the gospel daily to my children as I should have been. I had slacked off in the consistency and focused on the daily pressing needs of life instead. It’s so easy to become tunnel focused on little things and miss the picture God wants us to paint for the gospel to be laid deep in the heart of my children.

God wants us to encourage our children day after day in the things that will soften their hearts toward His Word and the gospel of Christ. If we don’t give them the daily doses of His Word to prepare them for the ups and downs of life and relationship with Him, we are missing it. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your Word have I treasured in my heart, that I might sin against you.” The Words of God are what will keep them from hardening their hearts.

Sojourning with you!

Brandy

Sovereignty of God (Written for my children)

Dear Children,

I am grateful for another day to live and move and be alive! Isn’t it a precious gift to be alive and be able to breathe in and out? I am blessed to serve the Lord with all my heart, mind and spirit! Life is precious! Sometimes circumstances or conflict make you want to give up or even want to die. You must fight these thoughts!

In 45 years, I have had many things walk through the front door of my life. I’ve had things that I chose to let in that were not good. Those temptations knocked on the door and I threw the door open for them. How dumb! How foolish, but I recognize I chose to let those life issues in.

There have been things that I did not choose to let in, but God in His providence allowed them. Diabetes, death, miscarriages, and early menopause are just a few of the things I have no control over but recognize that they are for my sanctification and for His glory. I’ve taken these things in sorrow, humility, and accepted affliction, because I trust God and He is my guide. I can not imagine these things without God by my side.

Can you all remember Disney World and Hannah getting diagnosed with diabetes there? The shock my heart felt that day. There was a numbness in my brain, BUT GOD took me through it!

Zach, do you remember the day I found out Abbie had type 1 diabetes? I cried on your shoulder. He used your tender heart to come out to me as I wept and gave me your embrace to love me through it. This is what God does for us too! He embraces us and carries us through life’s most difficult times. My heart broke for my baby girl, BUT GOD sustained me through it. Can you see His sovereign hand in this?

I’ve lost children by miscarriage. These anticipated ones were there and then suddenly they were gone. My womb was empty and my hormones changing and raging. My arms were not to hold what heaven had received, BUT GOD mended me each time as I rested in His sovereignty.

How can we not rest in a sovereign God? You can NOT walk through life thinking everything is by chance! God allows things. He has planned things. He orchestrates things. My mind and heart can be at peace knowing He has all things in His providential and sovereign plan.

Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.

Psalm 115:2-3 Why should the nations (or you) say, “Where now, is their God?” But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Bad things happen and come, and you MUST give them back to God who can cure and restore. Oh, how your weary hands will tremble. Oh, how your heart may try to rebel. QUICKLY! QUICKLY! Fall on your knees and cry out to your merciful God who stands ready to help you in time of need. Don’t go at it alone! Don’t pull up your boot straps, FIRST fall on your knees to the God of all mercy.  Children, God has not left you without hope or guidance. Seek Him and His help.

The verse that crowns this topic in context is 2 Corinthians 1:2-4 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Be comforted by God, for He will firmly place you where you are secure.

Love ,

Mom