Join us in welcoming one of our newest contributors, April Cao, to For The Family. Today she’s encouraging us to be proactive in preparing ourselves spiritually before the inevitable crisis in our lives.
~Pat and Ruth
I don’t gamble. I don’t play the lottery and I don’t test God to get my way. But that changed the day I stood at my bedside, nineteen weeks pregnant with twins, facing my worst fears. Too exhausted to kneel and too angry to bow my head, I looked straight up to Heaven and gave God an ultimatum: fix it, Lord, or I’m done.
Have you been there? One step away from losing faith, unable to imagine life on the other side of a moment of fear or pain? I certainly have. And the crazy thing is, what ended up hurting the most, what haunted me for years after that silent ultimatum, was the stark reality of just how delicate my faith was smack in the middle of a crisis.
When the rubber met the spiritual road, I lost control of my thoughts and feelings which meant I was unable to meditate on the goodness of God.
My identical girls—by the grace of God—were born premature but healthy. You might think I would have asked for forgiveness and accepted His mercy, but the truth is I was in an even worse place after their birth. I felt unworthy of forgiveness. My crisis had ended but I was deeply ashamed of the ultimatum I had given God. It took three tender years of walking closely with the Lord to extricate myself from the cycle of guilt and shame. I am in awe of the way God pulled me close when I insisted on pushing away. He did not leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8).
So how do we prepare ourselves spiritually before the inevitable crisis in our lives? How do we keep our focus on God while wading though the mire of our circumstances?
1. Hide God’s word in your heart. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11. Memorizing scripture is essential to stop out-of-control feelings from taking root. Create a daily habit to not only memorize scripture, but use it in your daily conversations. Let His word become a living, breathing reminder of His goodness and faith to combat negative thoughts that bombard you in the midst of trials.
2. Pray often. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. The word ceasing in this verse doesn’t mean without stopping. It means recurring. So pray often! In the midst of a crisis, it’s easy for our prayers to feel inadequate and stunted. Be reminded that praying is not the practice of speaking perfect words, but an invitation to be in fellowship with God. Rest assured, He already knows the groans and cries of your heart. There’s nothing you can pray that He can’t handle. Consider starting a prayer journal to record your conversations with God and then look back to see how He’s moved in your life.
3. Focus on what is good. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8. To acknowledge the goodness of God is to prioritize Him above your circumstances. Reflecting on things that are beautiful and praiseworthy not only brings a sense of joy, but gives us the opportunity to stand firm in the Spirit.
Friends, I’m praying your next mountain feels more like a speed bump,
Join April on FB at A Well Done Life for daily encouragement.