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“What Does Casting Your Cares on the Lord Look Like?”

A mountain hike near Boone, NC in June 2014
A mountain hike near Boone, NC in June 2014

Happy 2015 everyone!!!! 🙂 May God be greatly glorified and accomplish His every good purpose in your lives and in your family this year.

 

A wife asked me to address this issue. I would love for other readers to contribute their perspectives, godly wisdom, and insights, as well. Sometimes hearing a different person’s description of a concept can trigger a lightbulb moment. (This is a post that I believe could bless everyone – even those with very difficult circumstances.)

God’s Word commands us to not worry, but to trust God.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

Psalm is a fantastic book where the various psalmists describe being in various problems and having many different kinds of troubles and then they change from describing their enemies and their circumstances to praising God and trusting Him. That would be a great book to study if someone wants to learn to “cast his/her cares on the Lord.”

When we trust God with our concerns, our worries, our problems, and our anxieties –

1. We acknowledge the reality of the problem. I personally like to write down the problem in great detail in my journal. I write down all of my concerns, fears, beliefs, thoughts, and the things I keep saying to myself about the problem.

Here is an example from Psalm 55:

Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;c
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.” Psalm 55:1-8

verses about fear

2. We mentally lay our burdens before God’s throne. I like to picture myself laying an issue on the altar before God, or laying something or someone at His feet. And then – I don’t pick it back up again. Sometimes I trace my hands (palms up) and list my concerns and fears on the fingers of the hands I drew. And I imagine laying my burdens before God. I mentally picture the whole process of me holding my heavy burden and then me laying it down and trusting Him with it.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.… Matthew 11:28-29

As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God. Psalm 55:16-19

Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you. Psalm 55:22-23

verses about how God will strengthen and refresh the weary

3. We praise God. We praise God’s miracles, provision, and blessings from the past in our lives, in the lives of other believers, and in His Word.

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. Psalm 150:1-6

verses about praising God

4. We thank God for all that He has done for us, for all that He is doing, and for all that He will do.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:20

verses about thanking God

5. We have faith in His ability to handle the situation and we have faith that His wisdom is infinitely higher and greater than our own.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:1-6 (Hebrews 11 is “the faith chapter.”)

verses about having faith in God

verses about trusting God

verses about worry

6. We focus on the sovereignty of God.  This is how we can have peace that passes all understanding. We keep our eyes on Him and realize that He is infinitely bigger than our problems. We look forward with great anticipation to all the good that He will accomplish through this painful trial.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Daniel 4:35

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ Isaiah 46:9-10

verses about the sovereignty of God

7. We focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit is praying for us and that Jesus is praying for us. We know that God is ultimately sovereign over each situation and we cling to His promise to use all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:26-30 (The whole book of Romans is a wonderful study of the doctrine of salvation and sanctification and helps us to understand the finished work of Christ on our behalf and how we can live in the power of God’s Spirit now.)

but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:24-28 (The whole book of Hebrews would also be a fantastic study about how Christ is superior to the angels, to Moses, to the Levitical priests, and to the law – and how what He did was more than sufficient to cleanse us of our sins and to make us right with God and to empower us to live in His power.)

8. We humble ourselves before God and ask Him to reveal any sinful thoughts or wrong motives in our hearts.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, isb a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:10-17

verses about humility

verses about contrition

9. We reaffirm that Jesus is our Lord and that we are fully submitted to His Lordship. We allow His Spirit to be in control of our hearts, thoughts, and lives.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18b

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

verses about submission to God

10. We commit to walking in obedience to Him to the best of our current knowledge and understanding, longing to grow to be more and more like Jesus.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves Me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching…” John 14:23-24a

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:16

verses about obedience to God

11. We rest in the peace of God, holding the results of each situation loosely, trusting God to know what is best, anticipating all that He will do. We set our mind on good things.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-8

RELATED:

Some additional steps to trusting God and not worrying –

Submission (to Christ) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as Lord

Worry – Part 1

My Worry Insults My Husband

My Worry Insults God

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

Godly Femininity

Stages of this Journey

57 thoughts on ““What Does Casting Your Cares on the Lord Look Like?”

  1. I just don’t see the point when He never changes anything. He obviously overestimated my ability to bear things. I cannot do it and He won’t take it from me.

    1. Elizabeth,

      It is He who has the strength, not you. You are bearing this weight that is beyond your capacity to bear – because, could it be, that you don’t trust God yet? Is it possible that you are too angry with Him to trust Him? Would you like to talk about that together and hash through those things together?

      I long for the day you will find the freedom, peace, and joy He has for you! Could it be that He wants this weight to drive you to Himself and into His arms? How is your husband? How is your walk with Christ going, my precious friend? It is great to hear from you again!

      1. Isn’t it true that the Bible never states that He won’t give you more than you can handle? His word says you won’t be tempted more than you can bear.

        When I’ve experienced awful seasons that I felt I just could not bear, I often wished there was a way of escape, but there are times where we must face the unbearable, and the way to do that is to look for God’s strength and to lean into Him.

        I find much strength also, in reading biographies of Godly people in history who experienced great loss and trials who found strength and joy in Christ in the midst of it all. There is much inspiration and the building up of faith in those biographies.

        1. Love this, Julie! Thank you so much for reaching out to encourage our precious, hurting sister. Your suggestions are wonderful and helpful.

          I was thinking, too, God doesn’t usually “take” our burdens from us. He waits for us to lay out burdens on Him.

          The biographies of strong believes can be such an incredible source of Inspiration and encouragement. Fantastic idea!

          1. April, That’s a great point about God not usually taking our burdens from us, but desiring us to lay them on Him….He wants to teach us through the pain, right?

            I love what Ravi Zacharius said in his book on how God shapes us through the events of our lives, as he’s talking about the hurts we all face, he says:

            “..at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. Nobody escapes.”

            God is desiring us to have tender hearts and He shapes us through our pain to make us tenderhearted if we respond rightly. But as you say, April, God is a gentleman…

        2. the scripture about temptation is not the same thing as [the faulty] ‘not being given more than you can handle’ response. the temptation scripture [1 cor 10:13] speaks to our being without excuse for our sin as there is a way out. that clearly is not the same has bearing a trial that is beyond us. nor is a trial or burden always a sin, where as temptation would denote a sin either being escaped or entered into.

          now about trials, sufferings AS followers of Christ, it is written; Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. [cont in 1 Peter 4]

          also, the Word speaks of not spending our strength in vain (Lev 26:20, Isa 49:4), and this has struck me MUCH in my role as a wife.

          1. Luann,
            Thanks for this!

            Yes, we are guaranteed to face suffering. I have some posts about this. And there are many Scripture passages about suffering – Job, I Peter, Hebrews 12, James 1 – where God uses suffering in the lives of believers to refine, mold, prune, strengthen, grow, and mature us in our faith for His glory.

            The Importance of Spiritual Pruning

            Sometimes we think that suffering is something we should try to avoid at all costs. But it is often in the fiery trials that we learn and grow the most and that our faith deepens and we experience God on a much more intimate level. Not that we should purposely try to cause suffering for ourselves, but this is how we can rejoice in trials, knowing and trusting that God can and will use the suffering for His good purposes and to help us to grow in our faith and for His glory.

            Much love!

        3. The Bible says that God will provide a way out from temptation. The saying that “God will never give you more than you can bear/handle” is not from the Bible.

          Here is the passage 🙂
          No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. I Corinthians 10:13

          We do need to look for the way out of temptation that God provides.

        4. You are so right! When I faced the greatest trials of my marriage and I wondered if my heart could really take the pain any longer, I found great comfort and hope in reading the story of Job in the Bible. I quickly came to realize, not only did I have it nowhere near as bad as Job, but that Job was a more righteous person than I and yet he faced incomprehensible suffering to serve as an example to us.

      2. 1. The reality is my husband will never get better. The reality is I am stuck.
        2. I lay before him that I may be in this situation forever. I will never be happy. I must be content, though I don’t know how to be. Only God can choose to change the situation and he has chosen not to.
        3. God is all powerful. He can do anything he wants. He is Holy and Righteous.
        4. I don’t know how to do this step. Thank you for putting me here. ( I don’t mean it.)
        5. I have faith that you will handle this as you know best. You may think it is best for my husband to be in this condition. I must accept this.
        6. Yes, you will accomplish YOUR glory oh God at the expense of my being miserable and unhappy. My happiness means nothing to you.. Only that you are the only one left. So I have no choice.
        7. You are praying for me, though I have no idea what.
        8. I am a sinner. I am discouraged and completely discontent . I see no hope.
        9. You are in control O God. You are all powerful. I don’t have a choice about that. You will just keep doing whatever it takes so that I grovel before you… I acknowledge that I have no power. Only you to.
        10. I will obey you and continue to love my husband and my children to the best of my ability, regardless of my happiness. What choice do I have. It is my duty.
        11. It doesn’t matter what I want anyway. You win God.

        1. Elizabeth,

          My heart breaks for the pain and misery you are in, and, it sounds like your husband’s health is not good, still. The last I heard from you, he was in the ICU, I believe? I am so terribly sorry for what an unbelievably difficult time y’all have had. 🙁

          Some of the things you listed here about God are true, and you seem to have a good handle on things like His sovereignty. But, it sounds like you are very angry and bitter with God still at this point, as you were even before your husband was in the hospital. There are some lies about God that I believe you may be clinging to that could be destroying you. When you are ready, I would be glad to help you dissect your thoughts.

          You are free to choose to be bitter and angry at Him. You are free to reject His love, peace, and joy. You are free to refuse spiritual intimacy and oneness with God. You can reject Him as the Greatest Treasure in the universe. You are free to be miserable and unhappy. I sure can’t stop you. That is not the path that I desire you to take. But, it is your choice alone. You can choose to find His love, His spiritual healing for your soul, His rest, His peace, His supernatural joy, His hope, and great faith in Him. That is the path I desire to see you choose. Of course, it is up to you. So far, you have refused to choose that path.

          When you are ready to leave this awful spiritual dungeon of anger, resentment, and bitterness toward God, I am here and happy to walk beside you on this journey. The ball is in your court. Which path you take is totally up to you. You have a lot more choice here than you seem to realize. Not that you have a choice about your circumstances, but you do have a choice about your perspective, your contentment, your walk with Christ, and how much you allow Him to work in your life, to heal you spiritually, and to give rest to your weary soul.

          Much love to you!!!

          April

          1. Here is a comment I shared with a wife who has been longing to have a baby and is very sad about not being able to have one yet – and she is already into “advanced maternal age.”

            Maybe it will be a blessing to someone on this thread, as well? The topic is different – but the way we trust God is the same in difficult circumstances. We can take our hurt, our pain, our anger, our sadness, and all of our emotions to God. We can lay them all before Him. We can trust Him completely that He loves us and cares for us and is interested in our welfare. We can trust Him that He will do not only what is ultimately best for Him but ALSO what is best for us in the light of eternity.

            There is a powerful story of a godly woman of the past in this comment, as well. It is my desire for us all to love God the way she did. My prayer is only that I might have Jesus, His Spirit, His Word, His will, His glory, and His presence. I want to always be willing to be stripped of anything and everything else but Him. He is truly all that matters in this world. I long to hold everything and everyone else loosely but Christ – even in times of severe testing.


            I know that for me – I have to get to the place on every single issue, fear, and desire in my life where I can lay it down before God – no strings attached. I have to get to the point where I am willing to be content with or without what I want – as long as I get to have Jesus. This is what is involved in daily picking up our cross and following Christ as Lord.

            My friend, Joy-Filled Days, shared this on FB yesterday. This is the kind of devotion, consecration, love, selflessness, and sacrifice that is worthy of our Lord:

            The Triumph of John and Betty Stam is one of my favorite books. Her prayer, cuts me to the core.

            “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purpose
            All my own desires and hopes
            And accept Thy will for my life.
            I give myself, my life, my all
            Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
            Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
            Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
            And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever.”

            She had to leave her baby in the crib as the communists dragged her and her husband out of the house and outside to their execution.

            ———

            This life is so short. None of us know what is in store for us. But how I pray God will empower us to be faithful to Him like this precious couple. How I long for us to see more and more examples like this – men and women – willing to sacrifice ALL for Jesus, no matter what the personal cost.

            There are times you will absolutely be sad about this. And there will be times to share your heart’s desire with God, and, even with your husband. But – our God is sovereign. And our God is worthy of our trust, obedience, and submission. He is worthy of all of ourselves and way more than we could ever give.

            I invite you to lay down your pain, your fears, your concerns, your dreams, your plans, your will, your desires… and let God decide what to do with them. He may give them back to you. He may not. He may have bigger plans than you can imagine. They may be painful for a time. But, how I pray you will seek His glory and His perfect will in your life whatever it may be.

            It will take time to wrestle through these thoughts, feelings, desires, and ideas. That is ok. Take all the time you need. Go deep. Go slowly. Allow God to expose every thought and motive of your heart and to examine it under the blazing light of His Word and truth. Allow Him to transform you – to remove anything He doesn’t want to be in your soul – and to replace it with anything that He sees is good.

            Another potentially helpful resource:

            “The Idol of Happiness”

          2. I read your idol of happiness. But I am not trying to do anything sinful. I continue to serve my husband and parent my children. I read my Bible every day. Is it too much to want to be happy as well. To be honest, I don’t want anything for myself except to feel happy and not have this horrible weight. I speak sweetly and put myself in his shoes and do what he would want, etc.

          3. Elizabeth,

            I know you aren’t purposely trying to do anything sinful. That is a good thing! Sometimes – we are blind to certain sins. I sure was blind to many sins in my life – for over 14 years. Sometimes, we hide our motives from ourselves. I know you love your husband and children. I know you want to be a very good wife and mother. That is AWESOME!

            I believe it may be possible that the issues may be more in your relationship God and in your hidden motives. We are all plenty capable of sinning without even knowing we are sinning. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 I hid my sinful motives from myself and believed I was the most godly Christian wife ever. I thought my motives were all completely pure. Then God showed me my own personal mountain of sin. I didn’t have just a 2×4 beam. I had a forest. I was in total shock. For the first time ever, I had to come face to face with the fact that I was a WRETCHED sinner. WRETCHED. I owed God “billions” of “sin dollars,” not just a few hundred. He showed me that every motive of my heart was sinful. I was overflowing with pride, idolatry (of self, of happiness, of being in control, of my husband, of marriage, of romance), bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, gossip, self-righteousness, disrespect for my husband, lack of reverence for God, unbelief in God’s Word, disobedience to God, selfishness, etc…

            Here are some examples of motives that we may hide from ourselves. I don’t know your heart – these are just examples of motives from my life or other wives’ lives that I have seen.

            – Sometimes, we believe we are putting God first, but we are very angry with Him for not giving us what we want most. We may think we love Him more than anything, but we are not content with Him alone. We want other things as well. I may think something subconsciously like, “God, I obeyed you and I am being a godly wife. Now You owe me. If I obey You, then You have to do what I want. You must submit to my will or I won’t love you.” Here is one post about this issue. And here is another.

            – Accusing God of wrong doing is a sin. This is what Job did NOT do – and it is why God commended him. (Job 1)

            – Refusing to trust God = unbelief. This is sin.

            – If I hold on to bitterness, resentment, and/or unforgiveness against God (or anyone) in my heart – I am cherishing sin and choosing sinful motives. For more on this topic, please search my home page for “bitterness” and “unforgiveness.”

            If I say, “I want God AND I have to have this other thing, too…” That is a problem. God wants me to be content with Him alone. If I have to have wealth, too – that is an idol. If I have to have beauty, too – that is an idol. If I must be married and I think life is not worth living if I only have Jesus but not a husband – then marriage is an idol for me. If I think I have to have anything in addition to Jesus to be content – I am probably dealing with an idol. God will NEVER allow us to find contentment in anything but Himself alone. Idolatry always leads to misery, pain, loneliness, disappointment, discontentment, despair, depression, and anxiety. When I cherish sin in my heart, I forfeit the power of God’s Spirit in my life. I forfeit His presence in my heart and the fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

            I never had God’s peace or joy until He showed me all of my sin and I began the LONG, EXCRUCIATING process of confessing all of my sin and digging it all out until I got down to Christ. I had to be willing to give up everything but Him, if that is what He wanted. And then He gave me the power to rebuild my life on Him alone. This requires examining the deepest fears, desires, and motives of my heart in the light of God’s Word and His Spirit. Some flags that I have sin in my heart and need to do a very thorough examination are things like:
            + discontentment
            + resentment
            + frustration
            + bitterness
            + fear

            During the time I was so blind to my sin – I loved my husband with all my heart. I loved God – I thought. I read my Bible daily and prayed up to four hours per day – of course, I was very disrespectful, demanding, and controlling even in my prayers to God. I did not treat Him with proper reverence and respect and holy fear.

            If we know Him – He will show us that He is by far the GREATEST Treasure there is! When we see Him for who He truly is – we realize that if we have HIM – we have everything! And if we don’t have Him, we have nothing. He is the Pearl of Greatest Price. Until we are willing to give up ALL for Him, we cannot have Him. He gave up all for us. Now we get to give up ALL for Him – including our happiness.

            But – here is the awesome thing – as I give up all of myself – my dreams, my desires, my plans, my will, my sins, my weakness, etc… He gives me all of Himself – His desires, His plans, His will, His power, His spiritual riches, His presence, His everything. Here is a post about that.

            I’m right here and am glad to delve into helping you dissect your motives when you are ready.

            Much love to you!

          4. See that what the point of my earlier post. He will browbeat us until we desire nothing but HIM. But that is impossible. Why in the world did he even give us the desire to love another human being if all we re going to do is die and then who cares we will just be playing harps worshipping God… why bother???? I have no choice but to bow my knee to him or he will condemn me forever. But I cannot imagine that heaven seems all that appealing either… I don’t know that I can ever give up my love for my husband enough to only desire God. If I did that, I would care for nothing. I would rather not love at all. But I will continue to have my actions demonstrate love because that is what duty says I must do. That is what God’s word demands, so I will obey because I have no other choice.

            You made the exact points I was implying in my earlier post. I get the way that I feel is sinful but there is nothing to do…

          5. Elizabeth,

            My precious girl! Death is in the world because of sin. That was never God’s plan for us!! And we will be able to continue loving people in heaven. We won’t be married to our spouses in heaven. But we will have relationships and love everyone else in heaven as well as God. We will worship God and celebrate Him, we will eat together, we will have perfect fellowship with God and with each other. Perfect unity, perfect intimacy and spiritual oneness. We will have responsibilities. We will have jobs to do and we will have great joy every moment. Joy that far surpasses any happiness that this life can bring.

            He doesn’t brow beat us. He is not evil. He does not and cannot have evil, selfish, unrighteous, unloving intentions toward us.

            It is not that you must “give up your love for your husband.” It is that your love for God is to be so much greater than your amazing love for your husband. I hope that makes sense. God commands us to love others. Loving others is a GOOD thing. But they cannot come before God. Our love for God is to be much greater and higher than our love for people. It doesn’t mean you care for nothing – it is the path to the highest levels of intimacy in every relationship when we put God in His rightful place because we WANT to and because we desire Him and long for Him.

            Is it possible that you may believe that God has evil intentions toward you and that He is not good? It sounds like you do not like who you believe God is and like you do not want to be with Him. It seems to me that you do not know the God I know. If this is the case – are you willing to take a look at your theology with me and question what you believe about Him and about your motives?

            There are choices to make here. There are different ways to think from the way you are thinking. There are much healthier ways to think about God that are not soul crushing but that are Life giving.

          6. If you don’t mind my comment, God would have us love each other absolutely intensely!

            1 John 4:20
            If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

            But what Jesus says about us is that, again and again, we must be prepared to lose all of our worldly attachments, which includes marriages and biological relations. Not a WORD is said about a lack of love for our neighbor or brothers/sisters in Christ; you’ll notice that every word about “people you must hate” (Matthew 10:37, Luke 14:26) (including one’s own life) includes the relationships of biology and marriage–along with all of the details of our own lives, because all of these things will be gone in the end–NOT the people themselves.

            The statement means what everyone knows (even the atheist): these things perish.

            It’s NOT a lack of love. It’s a lack of attachment to a worldly, temporal condition that does not last past death. Jesus has indeed called on his to leave behind that which perishes in order to inherit that which does not perish.

            But here’s the great part! Every single good thing in the world is just a darkened glimpse of how GREAT God is eternally! “For now we see through a glass darkly.” I like to think about every good thing in this life that God made and imparted to mankind, these are just shadows of how great God is going to be in paradise! This life is a story of ups and downs that leads to a conclusion mastered by the One who originally crafted the story!

            Yes, thinking of all the great things we have in this life–relationships and lovely things–and when we consider seeing the creator BEHIND all such things, how much greater will it be to see what He has in store for us. 🙂

            My thoughts for you. Bless you in Jesus’ name.

          7. Hi Elizabeth,

            Psalms 143:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

            I turn to these Biblical resources a lot that I put together: “Healing for a Broken Heart” (short resource.summary) that I find really helpful when I consider the aches and pains of life.

            http://selfdefensiveman.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/healing-for-a-broken-heart/

            That is, if you don’t mind, of course, April. 🙂 I just really thought of this when I looked at more of Elizabeth’s story, if you think it’s appropriate.

          8. Elizabeth,

            My dear friend, what was your dad like when you were growing up, if you are up for talking about him? And what was your relationship with him like?

            My heart goes out to you to see you in so much misery. How I long to see you set free and full of the joy of Christ!

          9. My father was mentally ill. One day he could be a fun father that I could talk to for hours. Another day he would be full of rage and sarcasm. Another day he would be so depressed he couldn’t make it out of bed. He eventually alienated everyone in his life but me just about. We have always had a good relationship and I have no doubt that he loved me. He had an accident and was no longer able to take care of himself so he came to live with us. He eventually came to Christ. Praise the Lord. He was a good grandfather to my children for about 5 years while we took care of him and then he passed away about 6 years ago. Those years were really hard: raising my three kids and taking care of my father all by myself while helping my husband through another crisis as well. God helped me survive. I basically camped on Zeph 3: 17 and imagined myself crawling up into God’s lap and just crying because I had no one else to support me.

            Just tired of life being hard. But God is good.

          10. Elizabeth,
            Oh no! My goodness what a difficult time that must have been when you were growing up. 🙁

            I praise God that your dad came to Christ. What a blessing in the midst of trials.

            Will write more in a bit!

          11. Elizabeth,

            I wish there was some font for “whispering.’ Maybe italics will have to do…

            My precious sister – I am so thankful that you maintained a good relationship with your dad. I am so glad that you were able to take care of him for those last 5 years after his accident. I cannot begin to imagine all that you have been through with your dad and also with your husband. I wonder if it may be possible that some of your impressions of your dad from when you were a child might have impacted your view of God’s character even now, as an adult? Most people tend to impose their father’s character and personality on God. That can be good – if a father is a very godly father. Of course, no father is perfect. Sometimes, we may need to weed out some of our thoughts about God that maybe we embraced as children that may have been warped somehow. I am sure that your father did the very best he could. If he struggled with mental illness – that would have been very, very difficult for him and for all of you. My prayer is for you to find healing in the way that you see your Heavenly Father if healing is needed in that area.

            Much love to you!
            April

          12. Yes, I have struggled and have to often remind myself that God is not that unstable. That he can be counted on. I talked with my pastor quite a bit about the fact that my dad did the best that he could. He had to have electric shock treatments twice. A lot of this I didn’t find out until after he died. I have no doubt that he did the best that he absolutely could. I know that he loved me very, very much. He scoffed at the mention of God throughout the time I was growing up. I went to church on my own. It wasn’t until he had no other choice that he accepted God. I had tried for years and years and years. It wasn’t until he found the love of our church family and I guess saw my family’s love of God and His involvement in our family’s lives and how we interacted that he was able to come to Christ. In fact, he and my boys were baptized together. It was a sweet time.

          13. Elizabeth,

            I’m glad you have talked with your pastor. I am sure that if your dad could have been emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy as you were growing up – he would have. If he knew how to be well – that is what he would have been.

            I believe that your experience with your dad may have impacted your understanding of God in very, very powerful ways that may still be affecting your picture of God adversely. Those feelings and images and ideas we have about our dads when we are very young are our only idea of what a father is. We do tend to transfer these things on to God. Sometimes, we have to really go carefully through all of the thoughts we have about God and pull out the ones that are not true – that maybe we learned somehow and absorbed as children. Your dad would never have wanted to purposely mess up your picture of God – especially once he received Christ. I am so glad that he found God! WOOHOO! But, that was a LONG, LONG time of being exposed to a father with pretty severe mental illness. I suspect that it will take some extremely deep “heart work” with the power of God’s Spirit and His Word to remove all of those deep fixed beliefs about God and to replace them with the truth about God from the Bible.

            For instance, some things a woman might have to comb through may be thoughts like:

            – Dad was very unstable. I never knew how he would react to me from day to day.
            But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Hebrews 13:8 He never changes.

            When I begin to be afraid that God might be unstable, chaotic, out of control, and unpredictable, I will concentrate on the verses about God’s unchanging nature.

            – Dad was sometimes irrational and so angry for no apparent reason.
            If I am not careful, I may think God is like that, too. But, God’s character includes things like:

            the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

            Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8

            These things describe the character and love of God. Lord, help me to really absorb what Your holy, righteous, perfect character is like. Help me to truly understand that you are not irrational, selfish, evil, or mentally unwell. Help me see You as You really are.

            Here are 96 verses about God’s character to meditate on and to refute any false ideas about God with.

            If you want to talk more about things and hash through them together – I am right here. 🙂

          14. Elizabeth,
            Dear Sister, I continue to pray often for you and your family, for you to experience the sweetness of Jesus’ love in the midst of your immense suffering. I pray for your walk with Him to be motivated by your deep love for Him, for Him to be your greatest joy and blessing.

  2. I love #11…..We rest in the peace of God, holding the results of each situation loosely, trusting God to know what is best, anticipating all that He will do. We set our mind on good things.

    We can never forget just how big and awesome God is. When our circumstances are out of our control – we become determined to make things go our way. To focus all our thoughts & energy on our present situation, forgetting God is sovereign.

    He works all things out for good. Take your cares & prayers to him ever how you are comfortable doing so. Then trust him with the outcome . We never need to try & manipulate God to answer our prayers in the exact way / time / fashion that WE want. Then get upset at God when HE doesn’t do it like we wanted.

    2014 has taught me to trust Him even when HE seems silent… HE is working.

    Trust HIM when it is the hardest pain you have ever felt, because “HE has come to give you & life more abundantly.”

    Focus on HIM in 2015 no matter how big your issue is – HE will always do exceedingly abundantly above all You can ever ask or think…

    So, If it’s not turning out like you planned, say Lord I will still trust you. You are obviously doing above all I have asked or thought.

    God Bless You

  3. Spot on, April! IMHO, the most effective tool you listed was praise. Praising has a way of keeping our eyes set on Him and not on the problem. All of the other things you named are fortified and enforced by praise.

    1. Yoursistersojourner,
      Yes! God inhabits the praises of His people! Praise is so very powerful! It puts everything into perspective and helps us see how mighty our great God is and how small our problems are in comparison. Love this!

  4. This is one of my Facebook post from yesterday that might help:

    I was thinking about mourning. I started to think about King David when his son died.(2 Samuel 12) He mourned for seven days before the child died. After the Child died he got up ,washed his face, ate food, and moved on with his life. I am pretty sure he still cared that the child had died; but he did not let it paralyze him, or stop him from serving God.

    This is a great example of how to mourn. (Even though David was mourning because he had sinned.) This type of mourning can be applied daily. I’ve been mourning a certain situation for 31 days. While reading about David I notice that his choice to move on was just that, a CHOICE. I will not stay in a mourning state but rejoice right into the new year!

    Have a blessed happy new years everyone! Love ya!

    Define Paralyze:
    verb
    cause (a person or part of the body) to become partly or wholly incapable of movement.
    “Mrs. Burrows had been paralyzed by a stroke”
    synonyms: disable, cripple, immobilize, incapacitate, debilitate; formaltorpefy
    “both of his legs were paralyzed”
    render (someone) unable to think or act normally, especially through panic or fear.
    “some people are paralyzed by the thought of failure”
    synonyms: immobilize, transfix, become rooted to the spot, freeze, stun, render motionless
    “Sally was paralyzed by the sight of him”
    bring (a system, place, or organization) to a standstill by causing disruption or chaos.
    “the regional capital was paralyzed by a general strike”
    synonyms: bring to a standstill, immobilize, bring to a (grinding) halt, freeze, cripple, disable
    “the capital was paralyzed by a general strike”

  5. I have been so blessed by your blog, April. My sister (who introduced me to your blog) and I pray for you often, that God will protect you and continue to use your blog and your gifts in a mighty way for God’s glory.

    May 2015 be a year of awakening for thousands of wives…to life in joyful submission to Christ and the truths of God’s design for marriage.

    1. Angie,

      Thank you so very much for praying for me. I cannot possibly express how much I appreciate your prayers and your sister’s prayers.

      Much love to you!!! And my God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage and family this year!

  6. I would like to know how to tell when God is doing something VS when I am doing something.

    Example:1. You want to move to a different state how do you know that this is Gods will Vs your will?

    Example:2 You meet a man who is saved and he would like to pursue you. How do you know if this is the man God would want you to be with?

    Example:3 You’re looking for a church home. How do you know which church is Gods will for you vs what you want? and if the two wills even line up.

    I’ve met many people who said God told them to do something. like marry someone, but then they divorcee them. If God truly told you to marry them why in the world would you divorce them or refuse to marry them? ( im not judging but did God really tell them to do that ?or was marrying that person their own will?) wouldn’t that be the best if God told you to do it.

    I do know that we have to be sensitive to his spirit. and not have idols, but what if something is not an idol ,but a desire how do we know that its Gods will?

    I really need some insight on this.

    I think about the scripture faith with out works is dead. I would like to know when to work and when to rest.

    1. Shy,

      I don’t know of a formula that “always reveals God’s explicit will” for these kinds of decisions. This requires much prayer, sometimes fasting, and great sensitivity to God’s Spirit and being filled with His Spirit. He often gives direction, promptings, sometimes He reveals things through opened or shut doors. Sometimes He gives His peace. Sometimes He gives a very clear message to us in some way through another believer, through His Spirit, or through His Word.

      The main requirements God has for believers is to marry someone else who is “in the Lord.” Is there “the one”? I’m not sure I buy the “soulmate” theory of the world. I would want you both to be relatively spiritually healthy and well-prepared for marriage. Right now, I think you still have a lot of healing to do.

      Many people claim God tells them things. Many times – that phrase “God told me to…” is a cover for doing something a person wants to do themselves. It is wise to slow down, pray, carefully lay things before God, seek His wisdom, seek godly counsel if necessary, and wait on God’s wisdom, His timing, and His direction.

      He will whisper behind you, “This is the way, walk in it.” It is HIM that you need. He is the compass. He is the navigator. He is the map. Be as close to Him as possible and seek His will far above your own – He will reveal the way to you a step at a time as you need to know what to do. He can reveal what work He desires you to do through His power and when to rest.

      Much love!

        1. Shy,

          Most women take many, many months – often years. At this point, I think you have only been on this journey for what – 2 months at the most? That is VERY, VERY, VERY early. I think that you are making great progress. But I also think that you still have a lot of work to do and a lot of ungodly thinking and lies to uncover and replace with God’s truth. It is easiest to heal on your own at first. Then, if you begin to get in a relationship, some issues will probably start to come up and you will have more work to do. I would imagine that it could be quite a few months (at a minimum) before you are ready for a relationship and that you would have to take a relationship very, very slowly. If you jump into a relationship too quickly before you have really done all of the groundwork of getting rid of all of the ungodly ideas and learning to depend on Christ alone, you will probably end up acting, thinking, and speaking exactly like you did in your last relationship.

          If you get into a relationship, and find that you are quickly falling back into your old patterns and sins – you may have to stop and get out of the relationship or go much more slowly.

          I think that checking your motives would be a good place to start before attempting to be with anyone. One of my greatest concerns for you was the way you thrived on “high drama” to feel loved. That is not a healthy relationship pattern. Are you willing to base your security on Christ and to be content when things are “boring,” calm, and steady? What if there is not a lot of emotional intensity? What are your expectations of a man at this point? How will you handle all of your fears and insecurities? Or, do you believe you have truly laid them all down? What will you do if they pop back up? What is your plan if he tries to entice you to sin? What is his past like? What was his parents’ marriage like? Is he in a place where he is spiritually relatively whole?

          – Can I be content even without a man?
          – Am I willing to listen to and obey God if He tells me “no”?
          – Do I want this guy, his love, his approval, sex, etc… more than I desire Christ?
          – Am I looking to this man for security, acceptance, value, and purpose instead of to Christ?
          – Am I willing to obey God and save sex for marriage? What is my plan to make no provision for the flesh? Am I willing not to be alone in a private place with a man untiL I marry him?
          – What is this man’s character? Am I strong enough and mature enough to accurately discern a man’s character at this point?
          – Am I still cherishing sin in my heart?
          – Am I listening and hearing God’s voice clearly?
          – Am I staying in His Word and making Him my greatest priority?

          Praying for wisdom for you!

  7. Great stuff–and a good reference. 🙂

    I especially like the notes on God’s sovereignty, which I keep thinking about how God has meaning in everything going on in our lives moment-to-moment for us to live while trusting in Him to carry out his purposes in it.

    Again and again, I see these kinds of introspective posts and it reminds me of my better times. :

    But I wanted to ask you, since you know what it’s like to be extremely busy (having been a student, working and such)–do you find it harder to keep it all in your head at such times? It feels kind of embarrassing to say, but even meditations on God’s word and principles takes time and mental energy.

    I’m looking at prospective employers and some of them sound like they want you to spend almost every waking hour at your job. School was already over the line. (worst-case scenario, I’d save money and take time off periodically). Thankfully I think there are many options in my field for a normal 40-hour workweek.

    Sadly I seem to catch myself “forgetting things.” I study, and I actually write journals too as well as my own self-ministry as it were. But when my time and mind is stuffed with work it’s not so easy–lately has been better.

    1. JC,

      I sometimes have issues with forgetting things. That is why I have to write everything down! 🙂

      Yes, it absolutely takes a lot of mental energy to pray and have a deep quiet time and to listen and really tune in with God.

      Praying for wisdom about a job that would allow you to have healthy balance in your life.

  8. Thank you for this post! I intend to use this for a deeper study. Just yesterday I was thinking about studying up on His sovereignty. Sometimes I struggle with condemnation over choices made before being saved; but He is bigger than any mistake. Romans 8 is significant specifically when struggling with this.

    For instance, I didn’t grow up in a Christian household so when I married 11 years ago, I didn’t realize what preparations should go into the relationship before hand. Then Jesus became my Lord and Saviour a few years ago and now I am unequally yoked. My husband and I were really good friends before being saved; we’re still friends but there is a definite “division” now.

    The condemnation is silly because I didn’t know any better….that’s why the revelation of Jesus is called a revelation. And there is no turning back!! 🙂

    Happy new year everyone!

    1. Melanie,

      YES! God is sovereign even over the poor choices and sins we have committed – and when we are in Christ – there is now NO condemnation! We died and were buried with Jesus. We are dead to our old selves and sin. And He is able to use all things – ALL THINGS – for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory – even our past sins. God is doing that in my life now. Those 14+ years of awful sin that I wanted to disappear when God showed it to me – He is using now to bring thousands of people to Himself. He is SO VERY GOOD!

      God is able to empower you to minister to your husband and He may allow you to be His partner to draw your husband to Himself! I have a number of posts about being unequally yoked, you can look in the “Categories” on the right side of my home page and find the ones about being married to an unbeliever and about winning your husband “without a word.”

      Much love to you, and may God richly bless your walk with Christ and bring your husband to salvation in 2015 according to His perfect will!

  9. Hey April!
    Happy New Year to you and your family! I am dealing with the issue of casting my cares on The Lord for several reasons; the first is that I am a single mom and have been since 2010. I haven’t dated anyone since my divorce and I am interested in a guy but I don’t know enough about him to know if he is a Christian or not. I just find him attractive. He says hi to me In passing but that’s about it. Would I be to aggressive if I said more to him by asking him if he goes to church? I have noticed that he doesn’t wear a wedding band but I’m not sure if it’s still respectful to say something to him? Also, I am a couple of months shy of graduating with a bachelors in nursing. I would like to graduate with a job offer so that I can provide for my daughter and I. Trying to trust The Lord with this but it can be difficult at times. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  10. I first need to acknowledge my sin. If I am being fearful or greedy (controlling), I have the sin of idolatry. I should not need anything except God to be happy. Then the issue switches from being an offense to me to whether it is an offense to God. This changes everything because I can offer the necessary help according to God’s will because I have taken “Self” out of the picture.

  11. I came across a really nice poem by this evening during my devotional time. The devotional spoke about times of inaction, sometimes felt as lonliness, as a rest in the music of our life. If we watch God, we’ll know where to come in again to continue the song. Rests don’t mean the song is over, they’re an integral part of music. The book is Streams In The Desert and the poem in it is by John Ruskin. I hope it might bless someone else having some alone time.

    From the glad working of your busy life,
    From the world’s ceaseless stir of care and strife,
    Into the shade and stillness by your Heavenly Guide
    For a brief time you have been called aside. ​

    Called aside—
    Perhaps into a desert garden dim;
    And yet not alone, when you have been with Him,
    And heard His voice in sweetest accents say:
    “Child, will you not with Me this still hour stay?”

    Called aside—
    In hidden paths with Christ your Lord to tread,
    Deeper to drink at the sweet Fountainhead,
    Closer in fellowship with Him to roam,
    Nearer, perhaps, to feel your Heavenly Home.

    Called aside—
    Oh, knowledge deeper grows with Him alone;
    In secret oft His deeper love is shown,
    And learned in many an hour of dark distress
    Some rare, sweet lesson of His tenderness.

    Called aside—
    We thank You for the stillness and the shade;
    We thank You for the hidden paths Your love has made,
    And, so that we have wept and watched with Thee,
    We thank You for our dark Gethsemane.

    Called aside—
    O restful thought—He doeth all things well;
    O blessed sense, with Christ alone to dwell;
    So in the shadow of Your cross to hide,
    We thank You, Lord, to have been called aside.

    ~ John Ruskin ​

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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