Three Steps of Stress-relief

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I remember a day, years ago, when I was trying to help our little adopted four year old Filipino daughter learn her Awana Bible verse. The problem was she barely spoke English. Looking back I don’t know if I should have even had her involved so quickly in the program, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.

Anyway, I clearly remember sitting with our adorable little Annabel for over an hour trying to help her learn the verse, “God is love.” I just wanted her to say it twice in a row the right way. But somehow it wasn’t happening.

I remember feeling so frustrated, and getting mad even, that she couldn’t say the words, “God is love.” (How could anyone get mad at that sweet face?)

And then somewhere along the line it dawned on me that having her say the words was pretty ironic and sad, if I wasn’t showing her God’s love.

I told my cousin about this, and she said it reminded her of teaching Vacation Bible School. “At the beginning of the week,” she said, ” I’m all, ‘Oh sweetie…” and by the end of the week I’m all like, ‘Sit down and be quiet so I can tell you that Jesus loves you!'”

There was humor and irony in her words, too. But there is also wisdom that I need. Let me explain…

This has been such a stressful year…grieving the first year without my dad, still missing my mom, my husband having a heart attack and losing his job, and now dealing with health issues myself. A biopsy this spring revealed that I have some precancerous (and possibly cancer, too) cells and am scheduled for major surgery next week.

I’ve been mostly feeling the peace and grace of God through it all. But last night, after the pre-op appointment where they warn you of all the dangers, I broke down in tears. I wondered if God was punishing me. I know I don’t deserve any of His mercies.

I prayed and cried and read my Bible. And I remembered these notes I had just come across, of a devotional talk I’d given years ago based on the conversation with my cousin. And now I’m reminding myself to…

  1. Sit down. Just sit and know that God is God. He has this. He has us. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2, NKJV)) Let’s just flop down in that field of God’s sovereignty and take a big breath. And exhale. Just breathe. Rest in His presence.
  2. Be quiet. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense.” (Ps. 62:5-6, NKJV) Sometimes we need to “Pour out our hearts before Him…” (Ps. 62:8b, NKJV). But sometimes we need to just quiet our souls and wait with Him. We can rest in His presence and know that He knows our every need.
  3. Remember that Jesus loves you. We love our children more that they can comprehend. How much deeper is His love for us! “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God.” I John 3:1 (NKJV)

God IS love! And we are His children and we are more precious to Him than we can imagine. “…that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” Ephesians 3: 18-19a (NKJV)

His love passes knowledge! It’s beyond what we can grasp!

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

Oh the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, NOTHING can separate us from God and His tender, compassionate love for us!

So my friends, whatever you are dealing with today, please listen to this gentle reminder, as I listen to it myself…

Sit down and be quiet, so I can tell you that Jesus loves you.

And all together let us shout with courage and joy, “GOD IS LOVE!” And know without a doubt that He is! And let us rest in that green pasture of peace knowing that all who trust in Jesus are His cherished children.

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16 comments

  1. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this trial ❤️ May God sustain and strengthen you for each new day! Xo

  2. You are such an amazing child of God! Thank you so much for sharing your insights and being so vulnerable. You are in my prayers for healing as you go through this trial.

    Since I last wrote, the Lord took my mom home — May 20, 2019. She had alzheimer’s for the past 13-14 years. It was so hard to see her the last two weeks as she was so unresponsive. But my sister and I sang her favorite hymns (even though she’s been deaf for years), read Scripture and prayed over her. At one point when we were singing, she was mouthing the words with us! How could she hear except by the Spirit! We were so blessed.

    I can’t tell you how many times your posts have spoken to my heart. I’ve laughed and cried and always been thankful for you and your gift of putting into words what my heart has felt.. THANK YOU, Cheryl!

    1. Lynette, I’m so sorry for your loss! But, wow! I LOVE that your mom was mouthing the words with you! What a precious gift from the Lord!

      And I’m so grateful to hear my posts have touched you! That SO encourages me! thank you for sharing and may God bless you!!
      ~Cheryl

  3. Praying for you. God always uses your gift of words to speak to my heart at just the time I need it. And today I will pass these words on to my very stressed out daughter – runs a business, 4 young boys and her mother in law with alzheimers living with them. She is strong, knows Jesus but her and I both need these words today. Thank you for being God’s voice to my heart today.

  4. Praying for you! You have blessed me so much with your writing about your journey with your mom as I am on that same road as well. I feel God brought me to find you on the internet so I wouldn’t feel so alone in this journey. You give me hope that with His grace I can finish well with my mom. May God give you peace and wonderful, caring doctors who attend to you.

    1. Thank you so much, Ivy. You are an encouragement to me as well! God is good to give us connections and friendships with people we’ve never met! Thank you for your prayers and God bless you as you care for your mom. I’m confident He will give you the grace you need to finish very well!
      ~Cheryl

  5. Cheryl, adding you to my prayer list regarding your health. I am sure that God will sustain you through this difficult time, as He did me a year ago when I also faced a scary diagnosis. The following verse became very real to me and it is the prayer that I am lifting up for you now.
    “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13.

  6. I’m praying for you, Cheryl. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated reading THIS post today. It was a little bit of much needed surgery for my soul. I’m praying you’ll have grace for each difficulty you may face in this leg of your race. May you have peace in being still as you wait.

    Cindie

    1. Thank you so much, Cindie! And I’m so grateful to hear this post was meaningful to you today. That blesses me! thank you for your prayers! God bless!
      Cheryl

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