33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I haven’t written very much over the last couple of months due to a “perfect storm” of events in my life. I’ve been hired permanently at my part-time retail job, and I work there four nights a week in addition to my regular full-time job. This second job has been a blessing to me in many ways, but I’m not as young as I used to be, and I’m definitely feeling the effects of 60 hour work weeks every week. I’ve also encountered some serious personal issues – some obstacles in my life – which have required a lot of time and attention from me.
Through all of this, the Lord has been working! He has been shifting things in my heart that needed to be shifted. He is using all of it to put my focus where it needs to be, which is squarely and unwaveringly on Him.
If you’ve read my faith story (you can see it here), you know that I gave my life to Christ somewhat later in life than many people. I was 36 when I finally admitted that I needed Him, surrendered everything to Him and invited Him to be my Lord and Savior. By that time, I had sustained many key losses in my life, and I blamed God for them. Before I gave my life to Him, Jesus showed me that He had actually been protecting me during some of those key times and that He wept with me at other times, and that broke me free of that nasty old habit of blaming God. However, I have found that some of that tendency to blame God when things don’t go “right” has left its residue in my heart. It is sort of like a nasty soap-scum ring in a bathtub.
It was well past time to clean up that mess.
An obstacle in my life suddenly increased its intensity in a big way last fall. I remembered what I have learned from a good friend who has a strong faith about keeping my eyes on Jesus in the midst of a storm (you can read about that here) but I couldn’t help but notice that old residue in my heart. I broke out the scrub brush and the cleanser and got to work with His help.
The first thing I did was to lean into Jesus and His Word during the difficult time that I faced. That’s the crucial step. He is using my circumstances to draw me closer to Him than ever before, for which I am grateful.
The second thing I did was to lean into a pastor, Christian friends and a Christian counselor who have long, strong walks with the Lord. Their prayers and encouragement have been so life-giving! Being in community is key.
The third thing I did was to start reading. There are three books that I found to be of huge value, and I’d like to share those with you here in the hope that you may also find them encouraging if you’re facing obstacles in your life. They are:
- Shaken by Tim Tebow
- Hope in the Dark by Craig Groeschel
- It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
No, I’m not compensated in any way for sharing my book recommendations. They’re just three books that helped me dramatically to repair this part of my foundation in Christ. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way helped me in my particular situation the most, I would say, but I learned a lot from all three books.
I’m not big or strong enough to overcome these obstacles in my life by myself. However, I have peace and I have hope because Jesus has overcome the world for me and I have VICTORY through Him. All thanks be to God!
Do you need peace and hope in the midst of battling to overcome obstacles in your life? If so, please feel free to comment below or to message me and I’ll be glad to pray for you and with you. You don’t have to do this alone. Blessings to you!