Praising God When Life Hurts {wrap up}

Praising God When Life Hurts

What a joy it has been to go on this journey of “Praising God When Life Hurts” with you.

Over the past three weeks, we have been blessed with three different bloggers who shared how praising God in the midst of their greatest storms has led them to victory.

Our first guest, Micah, led us through a time when her life felt like it was spiraling out of control. Vividly, she told us about falling to her knees and crying out for the Lord to help. His response was, “I have a plan. Praise me in the storm, Micah. Trust me.” And, so it is with us. No matter what plagues our hearts or torments our souls, God has a plan. Praising Him through our storm, doesn’t mean the storm will end immediately, but it will give us courage and strength to carry on knowing God is sovereign and in control.

Our next guest, Carmen, shared about not one, but two near death experiences when she delivered her children. Laying on a hospital bed, in and out of consciousness, Carmen thought, “am I going to make it?” My friends, there may be times in our lives when we think the same thing. We may not be lying on a hospital bed, but life can be hard in other ways. Regardless of our circumstances, praising the Lord in the midst of our pain is key to having our spirits lifted.  Like Carmen shared with us, “Praise isn’t easy when life hurts. But that’s when it is the rawest and the most real.”

Finally, we were visited by Chelsey, who shared about her hidden struggle with depression. Sadly, depression effects more people (both men and women) than we may realize. Chelsey shared how depression come in spurts for her. This is true for many people; however, the effects are no less real. Chelsey has found hope in these times by remembering God’s promises. If you are struggling with depression, please seek medical help, but also speak God’s Word out loud every day. For God’s Word has the power to “demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

My friends, when circumstances look bleak and you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel may you know that God sees you. May you feel His love wrapping you up and may you be certain that He is for you! Though it may not come naturally, may your heart be strengthened to praise our Lord. For as you turn your thoughts upon Him, you’ll be strengthened and encouraged to continue on no matter what storm rages around you.

For God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God.” Hebrews 13:15

Thank you for joining us for this series. I pray you have been blessed. You are, indeed, a blessing to me!

The Dark Road of Hidden Depression {Praising God When Life Hurts}

Praising God When Life Hurts

Hi Friends,

As we continue our Praising God When Life Hurts series, I am happy to welcome Chelsey Coffey to the blog. Chelsey’s  desire is to help women grow through Christ’s love. Her writing is a refection of the hope and encouragement that can be found in Christ alone. Below, Chelsey is going to share about her personal struggle with depression and how praising God through those dark moments brings victory.

 

Many of those who know me are surprised when I tell them that the biggest struggle I face on a consistent basis is one with myself. I guess I hide it well. Since I was a young girl, I have suffered from depression. And to be completely honest, it has never really made sense to me. Doctors say it’s a chemical imbalance, some people say it’s all in my head. Regardless, the pain I feel is completely real.

For me, it goes in spurts. There are times where I am fine for months and months. And then there are the times where my husband or my mom have sat with me, watching me cry, asking me what is wrong… most of the time I just don’t know. I feel guilty for feeling the way I do because I am so incredibly blessed. God has given me so much love and so much beauty in my life – what right do I have to be sad when others are physically suffering all over this world?

But for whatever reason, the sadness takes over. Not forever, but just long enough to throw me off and to hurt, a lot. And then the shame comes – a leader in ministry like myself should not suffer from depression. I know my God is stronger than this. I know that I shouldn’t let it get the better of me.

Some days, I just feel hopeless.

Have you ever suffered from depression? If not, maybe a loved one of yours has. It is more common than we may think and even widespread in our local church. But I want to tell you this truth – in the midst of the hopeless feeling, God still loves you. He is right there with you and He won’t give up on you. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” And suffering from depression doesn’t make you any less of a Christian.

I don’t know why depression plagues some of us, but we live in a fallen world and it does exist. The most important thing we can do in the midst of this time of deep sadness, it to cling to God. Stay close to Him in prayer and His word. We must surround ourselves with other believers who are there to help lift us up and comfort us. Because if instead of staying close to God and we fall away, the deeper and darker that hole will get. And it’s then Satan gets foothold to separate us from our Father.

I am so thankful that our God is a God of hope and His purpose is always good. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

When I remember God’s promises to me, the tears eventually dry and the sun starts to peak through my dark sky. In life there are high points and low points, and they are both only temporary – but we always have the hope in Jesus Christ.

Having a wonderful God who loves us – so much He sent His son to die for us so He could be with us forever is amazing hope we can cling on to. So during this time, praise God. For He has never left you or forsaken you. He loves you.

So even when it hurts, I’ll always praise my wonderful Father in heaven.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12.


Chelsey Coffey  Chelsey Coffey is a Christ-follower, writer, wife and mother. She and her husband are currently in the beginning stages of planting a church. She writes about faith and spiritual growth at her blog: chelseycoffey.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook  and Twitter

Called into the Valley {Praising God When Life Hurts}

Praising God When Life Hurts

Hello friends,

I am excited to introduce you to one of my closest friends, Carmen Boso. I’ve known Carmen for several years; however, it wasn’t until a little over a year ago that our friendship began to soar. Since that time we have shared copious amounts of coffee, tears and countless prayers. Below, Carmen is going to share with you her journey through not one, but two near death pregnancy experiences and the victory God gave her and her family as they clung to Him.

 

This past weekend, my daughter had her first dance recital. With great anticipation, her little ballet group was the first number. This was a faith-based ballet company therefore, most of the music was Christian music. Her ballet song started out with the lyrics “You knit me together in my mother’s womb…” When Nina was on stage, that was the first and only time that my 21 month old sat still. As my husband and I wrestled an antsy toddler and watched our glowing preschooler dance, I was overwhelmed at how close I came to missing it all.

In the summer of 2010, I was pregnant with our first born. We got pregnant our first month of trying and I had had a great pregnancy. I went for my glucose test to find out that I was in the beginning stages of preeclampsia. Due to the severity increasing, I was induced at 37 weeks. Delivery went fine (As fine as LABOR can be…) and quickly after delivery, I began to hemorrhage. It happened very quickly as the doctor attempted to manually retrieve my retained placenta, the bleeding got worse. At the point in which I was taken to surgery, my blood pressure was 40/20 and I was in and out of consciousness. I was diagnosed with a rare condition called “Placenta Accreta”. After an emergency surgery to stop the bleeding, receiving 6 units of blood, and more than my share of hospital time, I was released to go home to my new daughter.

Several years passed and it was on our hearts to have another baby. We had always said that we wanted 2 children. The reality of how close I came to death that day hit me and Lee really hard. (He had a nurse physically holding him up while I was hemorrhaging.) At a woman’s conference, the Lord began to speak very clearly to me how much I was reacting to fear.

After a miscarriage, we were pregnant again. Another pregnancy of uneventful until around week 27. My blood pressure started to rise again and I was put on bed rest with the appearance of being a repeat offender for peeclampsia. As time progressed, my platelets continued to decrease while my blood pressure increased. I was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. A pregnancy complication that fosters itself in low red blood cells, low platelets, and elevated liver enzymes. Basically, my body was killing itself due to my pregnancy. An emergency c-section delivered my sweet boy from my body that couldn’t hold him any longer.

The amount that I learned during my pregnancies is incredible.

  1. These children are one of the sweetest gifts Lee and I have ever been given. (Besides our salvation and our marriage)
  2. My body hates being pregnant.
  3. We have decided it isn’t in our best interest for me to carry another child and currently do not feel the Lord leading us toward adoption. And we are learning to be content (Philippians 4:12)
  4. I can read back through my prayer journal and realize that the Lord called us to parenthood and called me to literally walk through the valley of death.
  5. I feared a lot. My faith was tested. I was scared out of my mind. I asked nurses and doctors often “Am I dying?” I cried. I begged God for deliverance. I may not have feared evil, (Psalm 23) but I feared. Did I doubt that the Lord knew what he was doing? No. But, I was afraid that He did know what He was doing and that I wasn’t going to agree with Him.
  6. The things I worry about in everyday life pale in comparison to the things that I normally stress about.
  7. I was given not a second lease on life, but a third. For some reason, this was my lot. And for a long time, after both deliveries, it was not well with my soul. I was grateful, don’t get me wrong, but I was depressed. My physical body was very sick and took months to regain normal strength and normal blood levels.
  8. Sometimes, we don’t know why God chooses the path He does for us. And we may never know. And, we have to rest in that. There is a misquoted scripture that is contorted in American culture. Romans 8:28 states “And we know that inall things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t say “MY” good, it states “THE” good. So, really, it may just not be about you.
  9. My will would have never been to face death. My will would have never been to tell my husband “goodbye” twice. But, it was the Lord’s. And I was only called to have an attitude of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).
  10. Praise isn’t easy when life hurts. But that’s when it is the rawest and the most real. “Lord, I don’t know why, but You are God no matter what I am.” That is what I needed to retrieve me from my deepest pits in life. The Lord is true to Himself and that HE is the vine that gives us the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5). Therefore, He is and He brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.

And as Nina finished her ballet performance, the song sang “You created me and all that I can see so that I can be holy, holy, You are holy. You are good.”

Links:

Nina’s birth story: http://babyboso.blogspot.com/2010/09/day-they-said-lets-have-baby.html

Miscarriage: http://babyboso.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-pain-of-loss.html

Brooks’ birth story: http://babyboso.blogspot.com/2014/09/preeclampsia-hellp-and-sweet-love-bug.html

Realizing I was holding back for fear: http://babyboso.blogspot.com/2013/09/114.html


CarmenCarmen Boso is a pastor’s wife who is a teacher on the side. She is married to Lee and together they have a daughter, Nina, and a son, Brooks. They also have a Lab and a Golden Retriever. They share a love for cooking and traveling and eating copious amounts of junk food. To learn more about Carmen visit: www.babyboso.blogspot.com

Help! Life is Out of Hand {Praising God When Life Hurts}

Praising God When Life Hurts

Hello Friends,

Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Micah Maddox. I met Micah through the blogging world and have found her to be an absolute delight. Micah’s writing reaches deep into God’s love and pours out hope and peace to afflicted souls. God has spoken to me many times through Micah’s words, and I am confident you are going to enjoy her writing, too.

 

Life was getting way out of hand. I was doing all I knew to do. I read my Bible everyday. I prayed. And prayed some more. I was active in my local church and tried to help people in need. Truly, I was checking off all the boxes that a good Christian should.

When my circumstances became more than I could bear, I could not understand why God would allow such chaos in my life. My heart ached over my father in law’s diagnosis. My mind rattled with the things my daughter was enduring at a Christian school. My stomach churned over the decisions me and my husband needed to make. And if that wasn’t enough, I was dealing with a situation from my past that had me completely torn up inside.

It was too much. I was overwhelmed and completely consumed with all that was happening in my life. I asked God to relieve each burden. I needed Him to fix all my problems and make everything better again. But the more I prayed, the more tormented I felt.

One day as I dropped to my knees on the hard wooden floor in my living room and cried out to God again, I felt a gentle nudge in my heart. God was speaking to my torn up, tormented, heartbroken soul.

“I have a plan.”

I knew He did, but when I couldn’t see it, I struggled. I asked Him what He wanted me to do. Lovingly He said, “Be still. Let me take care of things in my perfect time. Trust Me.”

I knew God’s timing was perfect, but this time it wasn’t adding up. I needed Him to do something now!

I asked Him, “Why not now, God? I need you now!”

“Praise me in the storm, Micah. Trust Me.”

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help, and my God. Psalm 42:5(AMP)

God taught me that day that praise doesn’t look like a list of Christian “To-do’s”. Praise is personally trusting God no matter what life looks like today.

Sometimes praise looks a whole lot like complete surrender.

When I was saying, “Why?” I was really saying, “I don’t trust you.”

When I was saying, “Why not now?” I was really saying, “Your timing is all wrong.”

When I was saying, “I know your plan is perfect, but…” I was really saying, “I don’t really know if God is going to come through this time.”

Sometimes when life is all messed up, we begin to doubt. We tell God we believe, but our words and actions say something very different.

I learned and am learning that praising God through a storm isn’t about my spiritual discipline, it’s about my heart.

I need my heart to match the thoughts in my head. That’s when I begin to praise God regardless of how bad my circumstances are. When I learn to submit my problems, my pain, and my personal agenda to God, I am positioned perfectly for praise.

When I dropped to knees that day in the living room, praise would look something like this:

Oh Holy God of Heaven,

My heart hurts deeply and my soul is in turmoil, but I trust your perfect will and power. I know you are able to do anything and I trust you to act in your perfect time and way. I know I cannot see the big picture so I surrender every situation in my life to you. Though life feels unbearable and uncertain, I praise you, Father. You are perfect. You are holy. And you know the deepest needs of my soul.

In Jesus Name,

Amen.

No matter what you face today, God is worthy of praise. If you feel like you’ve done all the right things and nothing is panning out, fall to your knees and let the praises flow. He knows. He sees. He cares. And He is trustworthy. Praise His Holy Name!

Love & Blessings,

Micah


Micah Pink Head Shot Micah Maddox has a passion to help women find purpose, peace, and calmness in our chaotic world. She is a speaker and writer about all things encouraging. Micah is a recovering Dr. Pepper addict and lover of coffee. When she is not tending to children, dishes, or the next meal, you might find her reading a good book, writing, or chatting with a friend over coffee. While Micah enjoys small talk, she loves digging deeper and discussing the stuff in life that keeps us up at night. To get to know Micah better visit her blog http://www.micahmaddox.com/about/

The Book that Made Me a Reader

Literary Musing MondaysGrowing up I loved to check the mail. I’d run to the mailbox each day in anticipation of finding an envelope or package with my name on it. My momma had subscribed me to several reading clubs and books were arriving continually. I’d safely say I had more books than toys. Yet, no matter how many books arrived, one thing was still missing. My desire to read.

Early in my reading journey I began comparing my ability to the ability of the other kids in my class. I saw myself as “less than,” and as a result, I closed up. I dreaded being called on to read aloud in class and writing answers to comprehension questions made me want to cry! Sadly, I didn’t enjoy reading.

Then I started high school and was given an energetic ninth grade English teacher. Never before had a teacher made me enjoy English quite like she did. Every lesson she taught captured my attention. I looked forward to everything she taught, until the day she announced we were responsible for a book report. My heart sank!

To read the rest of this post, please join me at Literary Musing Mondays. I’ll see you there….

A special thank you to Mary Hill for inviting me to join the team at Literary Musing Mondays for this week’s link up. Sweetest blessings to you, Mary!