Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
I am going to be perfectly frank. I did not want to write this post. Motivation eluded me and I just could not write it. But because writing helps me process my feelings and issues, I knew I had to write it.
You see, I have this problem. When I get overwhelmed, I get anxious and I procrastinate. I only do the things required of me. I withdraw. It makes sense in my mind to not do things when I have too much to do! I focus on one thing and let everything else go. Right now, I have so much going on that if I do not schedule things, I get nothing done (even then, it is questionable).
Finally, I decided to get started. While I had some ideas for some topics, I did not have an inspirational verse to build on. I needed some inspiration so I opened my Bible app on my phone and the “Verse of the Day” popped up. I usually do not pay much attention to it, but this one caught my eye:
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
This was the verse I needed!
Not just for this post, I needed this verse for me!
God knew what I needed! Had I gone to the Bible earlier today, I might have had a calmer day. All I did was see this verse and I knew that God had meant that for me today. I did not even have to finish reading it before it changed my mood. Now, I just have to remember this and remember that God is always there for me and to turn to Him first.
I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Prayer. We know it is powerful. It gives us a direct audience with God the Father. So how come we can’t bring ourselves to do it sometimes?
Has this ever happened to you? Where you feel like you are drowning in the realities of the world around you? When the weight of this world shadows all hope and the weakness in your heart grows stronger than your faith? The moments when you take each step more from a place of fear than a place of faith? For the last couple of weeks, I have been experiencing this. I know what I need to do, but when it gets down to it, I am at a loss for words. I am weak, human, scared, and overwhelmed.
Am I alone in this? Has anyone else felt this struggle? Feeling already defeated, set back and powerless, even in prayer? I know this is a direct result of wanting this to be my year in prayer. Any good competitor would go directly for the weakness their opponent proclaimed. I know to expect spiritual attacks to come in this exact way.
While these emotions and feelings are strong, my God is bigger, stronger, and in control. I may be struggling to fight on my knees during this battle. But I am still in the ranks of the ONE who already won the war.
Why do I let myself be discouraged? I started to think about the times in the Bible when I imagine others have the same struggle. Who comes to your mind?
I thought of Nehemiah. I am certain he felt overwhelmed by the bad news that surrounded him. Nehemiah 1:4 says:
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Have you ever felt like this? So overwhelmed that you were moved to action?
As overwhelming as things are now, I can’t help but think about some other examples of people in the Bible who might have felt the same way.
The Israelites who were in bondage.
Moses as he stood and looked at the task God had asked him to perform.
David as he faced Goliath.
The disciples as the seas raged around them.
Paul who was imprisoned.
What can we learn from them?
What steps can we take today to return our focus to the one who is already victorious over whatever stands in our way?
1. We spend too much time thinking or talking about it with the wrong people–friends. We need to talk to God.
2. We don’t seek the Lord or call out to him. We forget who he is and what he can do.
3. We never actually ask him for deliverance. We ask him to change things, people, or feelings about the situation. He is capable to change the situation.
Being overwhelmed is like a wake-up call. A call to pray. The trumpet reminding us this is a battle and we need to be ready.
Are there things in your life that are making prayer a challenge for you?
What needs to change in your life or heart to help you call out to the Lord in your situation?
I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
After less sleep than I would have preferred, one of my one year olds woke up that morning jammie and diaper free with poop smeared all over his crib. My almost three year old spent the day whining and disobeying every direction I gave to her. My other son decided it was interesting to hide my phone in a floor vase in my foyer. It took me over an hour to find it. Fast forward through a busy conference call and countless emails zapped out as fast as possible during the kids’ nap time, but not nearly as many as I had hoped. My to do list for the day was 25 things long and I felt sidelined at every one. By 4pm, I looked around at my disaster of a house and started to wonder how long I could get away with closing the door to the bathroom for one minute to myself. The answer was 10 seconds. Constant somethings. I felt myself getting angry at my “failed day” where I had seemingly accomplished nothing except keeping everyone fed and alive. I have found myself succumbing to my weariness lately and letting it foster a feeling of overwhelming pressure on my chest. Stress.
Honestly, it seems like this past month has been more stressful than usual. There are a few additional things we have added to our plates as a family, but in the midst of a recent stress-filled sleepless night I realized my angst was over things that either…
A) I have no actual control over or
B) weren’t items that required as much focus and energy as I was expelling or
C) were actually just fine.
I took the opportunity at 4am to do some introspection and pray. At first, I’ll be honest I was hoping that as I began to pray I would finally just fall asleep, but the Lord was ready to talk to me and take my burden. He realigned my perspective, showed me what mattered on “my list” and reminded me to focus on Him and not what this world wanted. This probably sounds obvious, but these are daily struggles for me.
There are a lot of things God is leading my family through right now, but some we have taken on ourselves. Discerning the difference can be a challenge but I am reminded of Philippians 1: 9-11 (NIV):
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Additionally, when we begin our day with an eternal perspective and not an earthly one, it is SO.MUCH.BETTER.
Another hard lesson I have to learn time and again is that God will raise up someone to do what He needs done in the world. Sometimes it’s me, oftentimes it is not. I have to tell myself, “Sit down, Pride. Other people have amazing gifts and whatever it is that God has called YOU too is enough and it is so much more than you can dream. What God has for you is GOOD in the full meaning of the word. And you aren’t in this alone.”
Our goal here in this life is about furthering the Kingdom of God, and guess what? The Lord has already planned for us what He wants us to do, we just have to listen and obey. It’s liberating really, not having to come up with all of these grand schemes and do everything on our own. I just put Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) on my chalk board in the bathroom:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I just love that verse. We are ALL God’s handiwork and HE has a plan for us all set out if we would just let Him guide each day. Seriously. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard, or be busy, or feel a little out of our element sometimes.
Instead, we should capture each thought, each task, each day, as one that God has prepared for us. We should have relief from stress knowing God is in control, not us. He will equip you for what He has called you to do, He will show you what is important in your day and what is not and He alone will bring you joy.
We are called to meet His standards, not the world’s. His aren’t easier standards, but they are different. I can promise you this: we will still have tough days and trials in this world of all kinds, big and small. The difference is that when we adjust our perspective and seek insight and wisdom in the tasks we have set before us, God will guide you to what He has given you to accomplish- and it is good.
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