God has sure been speaking a lot to me about worry. (Not surprising since I've spent a lot most of my time doing just that ever since my son joined the Coast Guard back in October!)
God has also been reminding me of this verse:
"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." ~Nehemiah 8:10
No wonder I have felt so weak and scared! My primary focus has been on my son leaving home and how much it hurts.
I can't even believe that, yet again, I have fallen into this pit. Worry IS a pit. It is a most powerful tool the enemy uses to keep us ineffective as Christians. It steals our joy, which tarnishes our testimony. And let's face it, worry is VERY self-centered.
"...do not fret—it leads only to evil." ~Psalm 37:8
When all my thoughts are consumed with worry, first and foremost, I neglect my relationship with Jesus. I withdraw. I am not attentive to my family. And, as I have realized today, being consumed with worry blinds me to the needs of those around me. Honestly, when I am so wrapped up in my fears and feeling sorry for myself, I am less likely to intercede for those who so desperately need my prayers. This is what hurts me the most. I'm too preoccupied to see what God has put before me...who He would have me demonstrate His love to. I don't have to look far to see:
~a close friend experiencing complications from a recent mastectomy
~another friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer
~a family still mourning the loss of someone dear to them as they face their first Christmas without him
~a friend contemplating divorce
~a friend struggling with depression
Worry not only says to God "I don't trust you", as far as I'm concerned, it also says "I'm too busy with my own concerns to pray for yours." OUCH. That sounds so harsh, but I have to say that is where I feel I have been for the past couple of months. I must be alert to the enemy at all times. When I begin to worry about Taylor, or anyone or anything, I must act quickly to combat it and recognize it as one of the enemy's schemes to keep me: from having joy, from being an effective testimony for Christ, and to stop me from praying.
Prayer is a powerful thing, so the enemy knows exactly what he's doing by keeping us so focused on our SELVES that we forget to intercede for others! We must stay focused on Christ and His power!
These things bring me joy because they are undeserved blessings from God. And after all, the joy of the Lord IS my strength!
36. Taylor's graduation from Coast Guard basic training :)
37. Clear roads and good weather for Taylor's road trip to cooking school in California
38. a quiet dinner with my best girlfriends
39. sitting in a dark room with only the Christmas tree lights on
41. Psalm 37:4
42. the "goodbye" card Mac made for Taylor (that brought him to tears)
43. the Holy Spirit's conviction
44. being married to a man I REALLY love...who REALLY loves me.
45. good food shared with family
46. text messaging :)
47. reassuring words from my Daddy