When Life Gets Hard

God won’t give you more than you can handle…” Odd, I can’t seem to find that verse in the Bible. I’m guessing Job would take exception to that cliche. So would Joseph. Paul certainly did. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself…” II Corinthians 1:8 Why would God allow him to experience hurt more than he could handle? Read on. “…so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” II Corinthians 1:9 Truth? Cancer is more than you can handle. So is infidelity. So is caregiving. So is rejection. So is death and loss and grief and prodigal children and 101 other life struggles. God doesn’t expect YOU to handle it. He expects you to hand it over to HIM. He doesn’t want you relying on your strength, but on His. If we keep walking around thinking “God won’t give me more than I can handle,” we’re setting ourselves up for heavenly disappointment. Good news? He beckons for your burdens, “Cast your cares upon Me…” I Peter 5:7 You will never know relief until you do. For this hard place, I have Jesus! –courageouslivingbooks.com

I take no credit for the powerful words written above. But these words really resonated with me so I saved them. The only credit I could find appears as Courageous Living Books, so I gratefully acknowledge them for this message. When I first read this a few years back I was struck by the many cliches we tell ourselves. The writer of these words referred back to some seriously impressive heroes of the faith to point out that no, we cannot always handle what life throws at us. We were never created to be that self-sufficient. We need Jesus! He is our hope, our Rock and Redeemer. Our hope lies not in ourselves but in the God who is always waiting to carry our burdens and set our feet on solid ground. The Apostle Paul said, ”But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” 2 Cor 4: 7, 8. We are the jars of clay, but the power to make it through comes as we reach up to God in prayer seeking His power and His presence to help us through, often one painful step at a time.

I paint a lot of paths, probably because one of my favorite Bible verses (maybe one of yours as well) comes from Proverbs 3:5, 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Thank you, King Solomon, for your wisdom that resounds through the ages. I may not know what lies in the distant future or even what decisions I may face tomorrow, but I acknowledge the One who knows all things. And it is to Him I entrust the outcome.

Lord, this world is often very hard! We are discouraged at every turn it seems. We truly want to do this life WELL and receive that powerful word from You at the end of our life, ”Well done, good and faithful Servant!” So we acknowledge we struggle and admit we wrestle with fear and uncertainty. We confess we are often faithless — but You, O Lord, are eternally faithful. We have no strength or wisdom in ourselves, but You promise not only wisdom, but your strength and power, if only we’ll ask it of You. So we ASK, Lord! Help us to REMEMBER and to RELY on You when the going gets hard. We can’t do life without You.

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even

youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Thoughts on the Storms of Life🎨

Sometimes life takes us places we never dreamed we would go and sometimes those places are hard! I have friends who have suffered significant losses and injury in the last year. It has been a learning curve for all of us as we’ve seen the tides go out and watched waves crash over our castles of sand. But when we build on The Rock, regardless what storms brew around us, we are safe in the arms of our Savior. I pray you would trust Him: believe His Words are Truth for our lives. If we reach out to Jesus in faith, He will restore, redeem and renew that which was broken. And along with restoring, redeeming and renewing, will come REJOICING. “Rejoice and be glad, for our Lord has done marvelous things.” Joel 2:21

Promises from the Word of God on renewal.

The prayer below was written by Christian author and blogger, Jack Watts. Did you know him? He is the creative writer of a Blog called, Pushing Jesus. I’d like to share some powerful words he penned and I trust his message will speak to your heart wherever you find yourself today. This prayer speaks to me as I “give of my talents, my time, and energy” seeking to bless rather than be another clanging cymbal.

Father,  Allow me to serve others with a joyful heart; never keeping score; always giving; never expecting to receive.

Allow me to give of myself, to give of my talents and of my goods, to give of my time and of my energy, to give of my heart and of my soul.

Help me understand the needs of others, never criticizing, demeaning, scolding, or condemning.

You have been so gracious to me, always Loving, always forgiving, always restoring; never gloating over my defeats, even when I have been so wrong.

Father, keep a condemning spirit Far from my heart and further from my lips. Allow me to serve others as You serve, with gentleness, compassion, and tenderness,

Never diminishing the worth of another, choosing to extend mercy to the brokenhearted, Like You have repeatedly shown it to me, Amen. — Jack Watts

I have been painting watercolors for six years now. I have been writing a blog sharing my thoughts here on WordPress for one year now. Neither of these activities even crossed my mind prior to 2015. I am doing things I never imagined I would do, let alone writing words I’d share with the world. But evidently, God had a plan for me and I am praying my way through to be faithful to His leading.

The paintings above are just a few from my Ocean Breezes Collection mostly painted from photos taken in Kauai and Maui. The above tree, ”Off the Road to Hana” is a tree that we saw standing alone over a cliff that looks down upon the crashing waves below. It just struck me. I love this watercolor memory of a solitary sentinel standing firm amid the ocean breezes.

All my paintings are accessed through prayersandpaintbrushes.com which connects with the very creative website, Fine Art America. FAA makes my nearly 300 paintings available as framed prints (or canvas, paper, metal, wood), but also as throw pillows, hand towels, round towels, yoga mats, shower curtains, coffee mugs, spiral notebooks, stickers, T-shirts, note cards, tote bags and masks. Masks! Who would ever have imagined that one just a couple of years ago~

I am grateful for the encouragement I receive from my up close and personal as well as online friends. It is your feedback and kind words which keep me pulling out my paintbrushes.

Praying over you in whatever storm you may find yourself. May you find a sweet moment to bless you today.

PURPLE TODAY

I’d like to share again these wise words with anyone who is wrestling with where they find themselves today. These thoughts were shared by my friend Betsy, from the book, “The Red Sea Rules.” Here is a summary of what the author, Robert J. Morgan, wants to remind us during challenging times:
1) God means for us to be where we are.
2) Be more concerned for God’s glory than your relief.
3) Acknowledge the enemy but keep your focus on God.
4) Pray!
5) Stay calm and confident and let God do His work.
6) Take one day and one step at a time.
7) Look for God’s surrounding presence.
8 Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.
9) View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
10) Praise Him.

Jesus sent the disciples into the boat knowing that they would be caught in a severe storm. He intended that they would experience God’s glory AND His presence in and through this frightening experience . Yes, there is an enemy hard at work and his victory has been one of divisiveness in every direction. But if we keep our eyes focused on the Son. and pray – hard and often, I believe we will see He has neither forgotten nor abandoned us. He is close to the broken hearted. We can trust Him. He is faithful.

…praying for you~

ARIZONA

I have included above only 9 of 65 paintings featuring the colorful state of Arizona in my Arizona Dreaming Gallery. I invite you to visit my GALLERY. Take a digital walk around and see if you might find a view that speaks to your heart. Below are two of my favorites.

Today the sky is overcast and that is a wonderful September Surprise for us this morning. Will we have rain – even Weatherbug can’t answer that question until the first drops actually fall. God knows. He, after all, oversees weather:

For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ Job 37:6

He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29

So I pray peace over you this day – wherever you find yourself and in whatever climate. And, should your day allow you the opportunity, stop by and wander among the red rocks, quaking aspens, and spiny cactus of my GALLERY. You will be welcomed.

Seek joy today

UNCERTAINTY

“Our natural inclination is to be so precise – trying always to accurately forecast what will happen next – that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.” Written by Oswald Chambers

Something my husband and I had no reason to doubt would occur suddenly seems as if it is not happening. Our plans are suddenly and abruptly altered. We are disappointed and a bit confused, as it seemed the Lord had arranged this amazing event. And now the event seems as if it will not be happening. So here I sit, “trying to accurately forecast what will happen next.” And then I read these amazing words written many years ago by the wise and thoughtful man of faith and letters, Oswald Chambers. “The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.” Wow…

When I first read those words by Oswald Chambers, I thought how beautiful a picture they painted of living a life by FAITH in God rather than in our ability to handle the circumstances life throws our way. Hebrews 11:1 says, “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.“ “This is not an endorsement of ”blind faith,” especially since it comes after a lengthy discourse full of evidence and logic. Instead, the writer presents the idea of ”faith” as a confident look to the future, based on reliance on God’s promises.” “Hoped for” means to be standing on the promises of God, walking in faith, believing in GOD.

Much of our lives are hills and valleys, for sure! I write these words hoping that if you are struggling, you will be encouraged to know what you know: that God is faithful. He loves and walks with us. He knows the end from the beginning. And all things work together for good to them that know the Lord and are called according to His purposes.

Do you battle with the Lord over His promises? Do you know the person of His Son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ? Is He real to you? I encourage you, to ask Him to reveal Himself to you! Just ask with sincerity of heart. He IS the long ago eternally promised Hope for the world.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? …” Hebrews chapter 1:1-5

So, Lord, my husband and I give you this fork in our road, this roadblock to our plans and lay it at your feet. We don’t understand but we will trust You and believe You for blessing in this disappointment. And for those reading these words, I pray confidence in You with the confusion and uncertainty that fill all our lives. Show up and show off, Lord!

Praying faith and trust over you today.