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  • ckstubbswrites

 

What do we do when our lives don’t look the way that we expected? This is a question I've been asking myself for most of 2019, and even moving into this new year. How do we cope when we are forced to walk through tough seasons that we did not see coming? I have three simple truths that God has taught me on my journey, and is still teaching me today.

 

1. Seek Comfort in the Presence of God

If you’re anything like me, then when hard times come, the last thing you want to do is confront what you’re dealing with. Quite frankly, I would rather curl up with a Hallmark Christmas movie, a big mug of hot chocolate (extra whipped cream), and forget about my problems until the movie credits roll across the screen. If I felt overwhelmed, I had a 100% guarantee that watching a movie would make me forget about what I was going through, even if it was only for two hours. The problem with that is when the movie is over, the problem is still there waiting on you to deal with it. In my hardest moments, I’ve had to learn to fight the urge to turn on a movie to escape my problems and instead, seek comfort in the presence of God. Psalm 91:1 (ERV) quieted my soul one day when I was desperate for some relief and peace of mind. It says, “You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.” How beautiful is that? When I read it, I broke down in tears, because it was as if the Holy Spirit was inviting me to come to Him and bring all my fears and burdens to Him. He was calling me to seek refuge and find comfort in His presence, and not through a movie. I realized that when I sought comfort in His presence, not only did I feel lighter, I felt assured and at peace that despite what I was facing, all would be well because God has me in the palm of His hand.

 

2. Cherish the Word of God

If you find yourself walking through a tough season, learn to cherish the word of God. There were many days when I woke up and felt incredibly weighed down by everything in my life. Each time however, I was led to the word. I would open my Bible even when I didn’t want to read it because I knew that it was the only thing that would bring me the peace that I needed. Without the word of God, I don’t think I would have made it through each day, especially those days that were tougher than others. Whenever I woke up feeling downcast, I would turn to the Psalms and be reminded by David in Psalm 42 to put my hope in God. I think the most beautiful thing about God’s word is that you can always find a verse or a passage of scripture to help you through whatever it is that you are facing. When I felt discouraged, I found myself reading the Psalms and actually mourning along with David. I connected with his laments, but I also connected with his declarations of God’s goodness despite his hardships. Reading about Joseph’s journey to the palace and Sarah’s journey to birth Isaac also encouraged me to hold on to the promises that God had given me. I encourage you to cherish God’s word and allow it to bring you the encouragement and assurance that you need to persevere.

 

3. Remember this one truth: YOU WIN.

I know that I’m not the only one who has walked through a tough season. Just like me, there are people who have had to walk through disappointment, failures, and so much more, and because of that, they are on the brink of giving up. If that person is you, then trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to become weary in well-doing; but, I’ve come to encourage you and remind you that because you are in Christ, YOU WIN. Victory is yours. Victory is ours! During my journey, the Holy Spirit always reminded me that I am victorious. Romans 8:37 (NLT) tells us that overwhelming victory is ours through Christ Jesus who loves us! Not just any regular ol’ victory, but overwhelming victory! That alone should get you celebrating, or at least more confident that where you are now is not your final place. It doesn’t matter what your situation looks like. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Hold on to the truth that victory is yours and you win! God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). If you love Him, YOU WIN!

 

Life isn’t always easy. I’ve come to understand this truth in my own life. However, God has provided for us ways to not only cope during the tough times in life, but to thrive and find joy and peace in the midst of them. So, get up and fight back. Use the weapons, and WIN. You will make it! You will achieve your goals! You will walk in healing and freedom! You have the victory!

 

YOU WIN.

  • ckstubbswrites

 

 

 

As we settle into this new year, there are many people bubbling with excitement for what is to come. They are hopeful that 2020 will be one of the best years of their lives. However, there are other people walking around in a haze of confusion, struggling to grapple with the difficulties and unmet expectations of 2019. If that is your story, then this blog post is for you. 2019 may have had amazing days of revelation, laughter, love and time with family; however, it was also a year that you experienced many delays, push backs, and attacks from the enemy. Because of this, the thought of entering into a new year has no appeal of excitement that it does for the next person. In fact, you might be fighting discouragement and disappointment, believing the lie of the enemy that 2020 will be the same way. I know what it’s like to think that way and be in that place, because I was there. I felt weighed down by everything that I faced in 2019. The tests and trials made me physically, emotionally and spiritually weary, and to be honest, when I heard people prophecy that 2020 would be a great year for me, I scoffed, thinking to myself, “Well, you said the same thing about 2019.” So, trust me, I know what you’re feeling, and I get it. I get it 100%.

 

However, I want to share with you what God has shared with me when I found myself in that place of cynicism and discouragement. A simple four letter word: PUSH. He told me to push. I felt so tired of holding faith that things would be different. I grew tired of everything that I was up against. I told God how I felt, and He simply told me to push. He told me to keep going. The trials would come, that is apart of the walk, but He reminded me that in Him, I am always victorious. Of course, at the time, I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted to revel in my self-pity, but I’ve realized that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and if He told me to push and keep going, then that meant He’d give me the strength and the capacity to endure until I received the promise. Below are four things God has taught me as I learned to push:

 

1. Persistence.

You must be persistent in the pursuit of your destiny. The enemy will do all that is within his power to keep you down. He will not relent until you are destroyed. Literally, the Word of God tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We must be alert, and understand this. No matter how tough the journey gets, choose to be persistent. Choose to persevere. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Don’t give up on the promises of God because of your current circumstances. The promise STILL stands. Fight for your promise, and let nothing hold you back. Yes, I know the journey is hard. I know that there are days when you want to throw in the towel and shout “Surrender!”, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Persevere. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Choose to be persistent as you walk into 2020. 2019 might not have worked out the way you hoped, but all is not lost. God is a way-maker, and He will do what He promised.

 

2. Understanding.

You must understand that God is always good, despite what it is that you’re currently facing. In the midst of it, He has a plan. This truth has been really difficult for me to accept. I struggled with questions like, “God, if you’re good, then why am I suffering?”or “If you’re so good, then why am I not seeing the things you promised me?” I was always honest with God about my doubts and even my anger, and He lovingly brought me to a place of understanding that His ways are nothing like my own and His thoughts are nothing like my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). There were many days when I would just look up at the sky with tears in my eyes, telling God that I just don’t understand. I didn’t understand what He was doing, but I understood that He is good. God is always good. What you’re facing might not feel good, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t. Better days are ahead. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). As you walk into 2020, remember that God’s ways are nothing like our own, and we may never be able to fully understand them, but we do understand that He is always good.

 

3. Sacrifice.

In moments of deep despair and discouragement, I learned to offer up sacrifices of praise to the Lord in the midst of my suffering. It is much easier to praise God when everything in your life is working out fine. However, it is much more difficult to praise Him when nothing is going right, or making sense. When the bills aren’t paid, you’ve received a bad report from the doctor, when you're still single after years of asking God for a partner, etc. These are the moments when praise is hard to offer up to God. I’ve realized through my own life that in those moments, praise becomes like a sacrifice. It is you choosing to lay everything on the altar and offer up praise to God in the midst of pain and letting Him know that despite all of it, He is still good. If you find yourself in a season of discouragement, disappointment, grief, pain, etc. ask God for the strength to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Praise Him because of His goodness. He is always deserving of it. Praise Him as you walk into 2020, despite what your circumstances look like.

 

4. Hope.

Proverbs 13:12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick You may have entered into 2019 with the expectation that many things in your life would look different, but instead, little has changed and because of this, your heart has become sick. Sick with disappointment, despair, discouragement and even grief as you walk into 2020. I want to remind you today that with God, all things are possible. Don’t lose hope because of unmet expectations. Don’t give up on the fight because your hope has been deferred. Don’t give up on God because your reality doesn’t match what He promised you. God works all things together for the good of those that love Him. Brighter days are coming in 2020. Declare it in faith. Psalm 25:3 says that those who put their hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. God will never allow us to be ashamed when we place our hope in Him. So, hope, again! Walk into this new year hopeful that God will do what He promised.

 

I assure you that once you ask God for the strength to push, you will walk into 2020 with a newfound hope and joy like never before. Don’t allow the disappointments and difficulties of 2019 to cause you to doubt God’s goodness or His promises for you. PUSH your way through. You will arrive at your destiny, and realize that everything that you went through was to shape and mold you into the person that God has called you to be.

 

PUSH!

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  • ckstubbswrites

 

 

 

When you look back at your year, what emotions come to mind? Is it regret, disappointment and failure, or is it joy, gratitude and anticipation for the new year? I asked myself this very same question, and found myself curled up in a ball on my bathroom floor in tears. Honestly, in that moment, all I could remember were the bad moments of 2019. The moments when I found myself in deep discouragement, and disappointment. As I sat on the bathroom floor, crying out to God, I felt the Holy Spirit gently speak to my heart. He reminded me that I knew within myself that there weren’t only bad moments in 2019, and what I needed to do was think back and remember the good. He told me to remember the moments when He came through for me, the moments when He showed Himself strong on my behalf and on the behalf of my friends and family members.

 

When I finally regained my composure, I did just that. I thought back on my year, from January to the present, and I realized that the good moments of 2019 far outweighed the bad--by a long shot. There were so many moments when I felt great joy and peace in God’s presence. Moments when God brought me through in victory. Moments that I spent in joy and laughter with my family. Moments that I experienced Jesus in a new way. As I began to reflect on these moments, I could feel the cloud of discouragement and doubt lift off of me. It was as if I could breath easier, and I felt at peace for the first time in days. I realized that Satan wanted me to focus on the bad, so that I could walk into 2020 with little hope and joy. Had it not been for God's kindness, I probably would have done just that.

 

Is my experience your reality today? Are you like I was, crying over the bad moments of 2019 and forgetting the good? If so, I encourage you to look back on your year and pinpoint the good. Be intentional about doing it, and remind the enemy that just like God came through for you before, He will do it again. Our years may not have looked the way we hoped it would have looked and things may not have worked out the way we wanted them to work out, but guess what? We’re still standing. We’re alive. We’re breathing. Because of this truth, there is still hope.

 

I wanted to remind you of this truth today. There is still hope. Focus on the good days of 2019, and remember how far God has brought you this year. What I love so much about God is His mercy and His kindness towards us. As I cried out to Him on my bathroom floor, He began to encourage my heart. You see, I cried because I focused on the moments when I fell short in 2019, the moments when I messed up, the moments when I failed to do what I had resolved to do at the beginning of the year, but in the moment, the Holy Spirit began to encourage me. He told me that He was proud of me for the moments when I stood strong, and He is proud of me because despite everything that I faced during 2019, I am still standing. I believe that He wants to say the same thing to you today. You are still standing, and God honors that. So, focus on the good. Remember the good days. Look back on the moments when God came through for you in 2019, and walk into 2020 with full confidence that better days are ahead.

 

Remember, there is still hope.

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