The dark cloud has touched down Keeping my head up Trying hard not to drown Everything looks gray The feeling of blah, smothering me each day Needing some shining light, The gloominess though, hangs out night after night Motivation lacking and energy drained, my outlook's been blackened Color has washed away Dullness sitting in, despair I can't escape Passion has disappeared With joy long gone depression's back, I fear Thoughts, easily they spin like a big vortex don't want to get sucked in So I'm hanging on tight grabbing onto God praying with all my might He's my anchor of hope and will lift the cloud But not yet, so I cope It may not happen soon The weeks might drag on, hopefully, not till June Again, the sun will rise In time, this will pass and there will be blue skies Smiles for another day when the darkness leaves and the cloud dissipates Right now, nestling close, in His wings I'll rest, in the love that He shows Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi
Alone in the night Awake, bushy-tailed and bright My mind won’t switch off Ideas come, flooding my thoughts Eyes don't want to close Time, my body thinks it knows But, it's all haywire Revved up and ready to fire The cycle goes round continuing to be wound Unable to sleep at the time others snooze deep Running ahead at full speed meanwhile, I wake up fatigued It's backwards, you see Can't go to sleep until 3 The rhythm it's whacked It has got my days all jacked I sleep until noon but come alive with the moon Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi *I wrote this poem last week when I couldn't sleep. Although, I haven't been officially diagnosed, I'm certain I've had a sleep disorder since I was a teenager, around the time I experienced the trauma of my dad leaving. My circadian rhythm has been off for as long as I can remember and no matter how hard I try to force myself to change my sleep patterns, it's a constant battle. I come alive with the moon and am dragging until early afternoon the following day.
So burned out and weary
this life looking dreary
Still, I press on.
Energy, it's lacking
the fatigue attacking
Still, I press on.
To-do's piling up
while emptying my cup
Still, I press on.
Day-to-day so routine
the season, in between
Still, I press on.
With my head in the race
continuing to pace
Still, I press on.
Endless tasks, there's no end
adulting, not my friend
Still, I press on.
Thoughts of getting a break
hoping, but a mistake
Still, I press on.
As the night settles in
day coming to an end
Still, I press on.
Time to sit and unwind
Nope! more needs done, I find
Still, I press on.
Then tomorrow, it dawns
and I wake with a yawn
Still, I press on.
Arising with the Son
this marathon to run
Still, I press on.
Remembering the prize
towards Him, I turn my eyes
Still, I press on.
Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi
*This poem was inspired by the following verse I read last night: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:14
Fear, Fear, it’s everywhere
Slips in without me aware
The cycle is endless
The constant fear, chronic stress
The rival won’t stand down
Fired shots in this battleground
A tight grip on my heart
I can’t pry the grasp apart
My stomach’s all a knot
Just too many anxious thoughts
Round and round in my mind
Until I cannot unwind
The fear it keeps me stuck
Continued struggles to trust
You say “Don’t be afraid”
Please Father, come to my aid.
Lord, take it all from me
So in your hands it will be
Help me to rest in you
I need to sleep before two
Give me your peace and calm
Speak your Words of soothing balm
Quiet my soul, Lord, please
I’m begging you on my knees
You say your yoke is light
Show me a little more bright
Why am I so afraid?
In Your image I was made
Please take this dark gray cloud
Hanging over me too loud
Why can’t I just let go?
Surrender, so I can glow
Shower me from up above
Then I can shine Your sweet love
© 2021 Aimee Phillippi
*This was a poem I wrote in the middle of the night in November of last year, when I was struggling with fear and anxiety. It often comes in waves, but is diminishing the more I learn to trust Him in all areas of my life.
1. Humble yourselves before the Lord
How do we humble ourselves before the Lord? The word humble has to do with our attitude. We adjust our attitude, making ourselves less proud. We lower ourselves and admit to Him, our human flaws, our weaknesses, our sins, our mistakes, while asking for forgiveness and help to be more like Christ. I love how the amplified Bible breaks down James 4:10
Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].
2. Give Him your heart and delight in His ways
Give him your whole heart-all of it-the broken pieces too-every single shard. He wants it all. Jesus wants all of you and He wants you to revel in His ways.
My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, -Proverbs 23:26
3. Love the Lord your God with all your heart
We don’t just love Him when we feel like it, or when our lives are looking up. This is isn’t a part-time, conditional love. No. We pour our heart, mind and soul into loving Him, all the time, with every ounce of our being.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. -Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP)
4. Live by faith
No longer living for ourselves, we have been crucified, so dying to ourselves, we give Him every part of our life. And if we’re struggling with turning some of it over, we ask for the willingness to surrender each area to Him, until we can fully surrender our life and our desires, then we let Him fill us with His desires. And we live by faith, believing without seeing, and trusting in Jesus-always trusting in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. -Galations 2:20 (AMP)
5. Be doers of the Word
Yes, reading the Word is important, but are we doing what the Word is telling us? We must be doers of the Word, not just readers of the Word. To “do”, is to act. It involves truly listening and then taking the obedient steps to follow what it says.
But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. -James 1:22 (AMP)
6. Keep His commandments
Keeping His commandments is love in action. By following His law, we are submitting to His ways.
If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments. -John 14:15 (AMP)
7. Take his yoke upon you, and learn from Him
Come to Him, letting Him teach and refine you, because Jesus is a gentle teacher. Come to Him, for His way is lighter and less cumbersome than our ways.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. -Matthew 11:29 (AMP)
8. Seek first the Kingdom of God
When we seek Him and His kingdom first, all else falls into place. So, we seek and put Jesus above all else, and we become. Then, we watch it all happen just as it’s supposed to. And we watch ourselves become who we were meant to be all along.
But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. -Matthew 6:33 (AMP)
9. Trust in the Lord with all your heart
We don’t just trust Him a little, we trust Him with our WHOLE hearts. We trust Him with every piece of our lives. Everything we hold near and dear to us, we hand over to His care. Everything that is important to us, we put in His hands. Every decision we must make, we take to Him first. When we can’t see, we trust that He does and that He has our best interests at heart. And when we don’t understand His ways, we still trust and rely on Him.
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)
10. Crucify the flesh
When we put to death our fleshly desires and temptations, we begin to live in the Spirit. This is when the fruits of the Spirit are given room to grow and blossom.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. -Galations 5:24
11. Walk by the Spirit
By letting the Spirit direct our thoughts, our words, our attitudes, and our actions, we are surrendering our ways, while letting Him lead us and empower us to walk in righteousness.
If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. -Galations 5:25 (AMP)
12. Repent and produce fruit
We repent. Making a concerted effort to not sin by practicing new ways of living, we work with Jesus, while allowing Him to change our hearts so we can produce fruit.
So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; -Matthew 3:8 (AMP)
13. Let not your hearts be troubled
Be brave in Him, and not afraid. Have courage and know that He is God- the God Almighty, who overcame the world. He is a BIG, BIG God, who is in the business of helping His believers. So, be fearless, be bold-and take heart in Him, my friends.
“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. -John 14:1 (AMP)
14. Do not fear
We remember that we are not to be afraid of anything because there is nothing we should fear, and He is our God-our Defender and Protector. This is a tough one for those of us who struggle with fear due to anxiety. I once heard though, that we can either have faith or live in fear, but we can’t do both at the same time. It is one or the other. Will we walk towards faith or in fear today?
Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ -Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)
15. Submit to God and draw near to Him, resisting the devil
To submit, means to yield. So, we yield to Him and draw close, burying ourselves in His Word and taking it to heart by walking in His ways. We stand firmly before Jesus, not letting satan get his hold on us.
So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. -James 4:7-8 9 (AMP)
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to my Father, the Creator of everything on heaven and on earth.-Ephesians 3:14
Are you weary? Are you carrying heavy burdens right now, like I am? Are you struggling with stress or anxiety, even when you try so hard to keep your eyes fixed on Him? Tonight, as I listened to some Christmas music while completing the day’s homeschool tasks, these words spoke to my heart-“fall on your knees”. Fall on your knees, loved one, and come to Him. He wants to fill you with His peace so you can carry on. Take a few moments to bow down and breathe. Press pause. Drop to your knees and spill out your heart. He is the Great Comforter and His ear is all yours.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” -James 4:10
With Christmas around the corner, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays at our feet, things can get stressful quickly if we aren’t careful. And this year, with Covid-19, the way we celebrate may be different. Life is already hard and when we have to find new ways of doing things, it can be even more difficult. Here are 10 verses to remind us that the Christmas season need not be stressful. Meditate on these often to help you get through in one “peace”:
1. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalm 55:22
2. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.-Psalm 16:8
3. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.-Jeremiah 31:25
4. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. -Colossians 3:2
5. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. -Matthew 6:34
6. Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his face always- 1 Chronicles 16:11
7. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I don’t give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27
8. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. -Psalms 63:7-8
9. The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14
10. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. -Psalm 29:11
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. -Psalms 62:5
This piece goes out to one of my dearest friends, who is needing some hope. I pray that this may speak to her, and that I can be a vessel, spreading His love to those reading this.
There are times when all we have left is that sliver of hope. That teeny tiny flicker of light at the end of the long, dark tunnel, feels so far away. We need Jesus all the time, but these are the times we need Him the most-the times when instead of trying to let the problems swirl in our minds for hours on end, driving us mad because we don’t have the answers-these are the times when we need to reach for Him. And we can ask Him to fight for us. If we can’t fix it and we don’t have answers to these huge mountains of problems, we reach for Him. We hope in Him and we wait in Him. We can thrust our load upon Him and He will carry it. He will fight for us because He is a BIG, BIG God who is for us, and not against us.
It’s those times that we feel like we are going to break, that we put everything we’ve got into grasping hold of Him and not letting go, because He is the One who will sustain us. If all we can do is whisper softly-“Jesus, help me,” we do that. We hold onto the hope of the His Word and meditate on it day and night, because it is alive and powerful-sharper than any two-edged sword. We hand over the load we can’t fix, and we rest in Him. We wait upon Him, having faith and not allowing the fear to overtake us. When I am weary and I am worried and I am burdened, I imagine taking those worries and problems and dumping them into His Mighty hands so I no longer have to hold them. Then, I close my eyes and picture myself curled up in His palm, resting in peace, and He gives me comfort, because He is all I need.
And then we trust in Him, even when we don’t understand. We trust Him with all our hearts, and do not lean on our own understanding. Jesus says we do not understand right now what He is doing, but someday we will. In the winter, ice bridges form over the rivers here in Alaska. When crossing a frozen body of water, we have to trust that the ice bridge will hold us and get us over to the other side. God is that ice bridge of faith and even though we don’t understand what’s going on underneath the surface, we trust that He will keep us from cracking and tumbling into the frigid waters of fear and despair. He will hold us up and get us to the other side, but there is something else we can do too.
We can serve. Whether this be calling a friend to listen to how their day is going, picking up a few items at the grocery store for an elderly neighbor who can’t get out, or praying fervently for a family member, this gets our minds off of our problems. It not only blesses another, but it blesses us with joy in the process.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. -Psalms 62:8
I don’t know about you, but as someone who struggles with anxiety, living during this Covid pandemic has been extremely challenging. Fear pops up constantly.
What can we do to put the fear and anxiety to rest? Leaning on Him is first and foremost. We can also pray and meditate on His Word. Here are some helpful verses to get us through these trying times:
1. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. -Philippians 4:6
He says be anxious for nothing. NOTHING. Instead, send your prayers up, while thanking Him, and making your requests known to Him. We can thank Him ahead of time too, having faith that He hears us and will give us what we need.
2. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7
How comforting to know that we can cast it all on Him-every single worry, every single fear, we can throw His way, because He CARES. The definition of care is to look after and provide for the needs of. And He is the Great Provider. He provides for all of our needs, including the need for peace. We must be still and trust, knowing that He is God, and He will quiet our fears.
3. Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy. -Proverbs 12:25
Focusing on our worries and fears will only perpetuate them. If you struggle with anxiety, it’s easy for a single worry to turn into ten and then comes the snowball effect. Pretty soon the anxiety is full-blown out of control and it’s heavy, oh so heavy and hindering. Instead of focusing on our fears, let’s fix our eyes on His word, because it can encourage us. His Word is alive. And He can use His word to uplift us and bring us joy and peace that the world cannot give, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
4. Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28
When we are weary from the ways of the world. and the heavy loads of fear and anxiety are weighing us down, we always have a place to rest. Jesus says “I will give you rest.” Worry and stress can lead to an endless pit of exhaustion, but He will refresh us. Instead of grasping for a temporarily fix, let us rest in Him and be renewed.
5. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? -Matthew 6:27
If anything, stress and anxiety will lower our immune system and make us more vulnerable to illness. And stress, can actually shorten our lives. So let’s put it ALL in His hands-every anxious thought, every concern, every uncertainty that is causing us distress. Let’s give every bit of it to Him. He will carry it for us.
6. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. -2 Thessalonians 3:16
When I am stressing or my anxiety is running wild, I’m not resting in the One who can and will fill me with His peace. When the worry kicks in, I have to make a concerted effort to turn my eyes toward Him and keep turning them towards Him, because it’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of this world and glance the other way. The world is not where our peace is. He is.
7. A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. -Proverbs 17:22
Let’s break it down. Another word for crushed is overpowered. When our mind is overpowered by anxious thoughts, we can become brittle and more prone to a broken spirit. I think of how overpowering waves crash into land and slowly erode it. Stress and anxiety can do this to our minds and bodies over time.
When I think of crushed, I think of the word defeated. Medicine is used as a treatment for, or to prevent disease. Having a joyful heart can be looked at as being a preventative. It is good for our bodies and souls.
8. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. -Ephesians 6:10-11
We need to fight daily against satan’s schemes to knock us down with our fears and anxiety. And we do this by putting on the full armor of God. We need to guard our hearts, our minds and our souls from the devil’s fiery darts of fear and stealthy ways of worry.
Be proactive and tighten the belt of Truth, so you can stand firm in the real Truth, rather than the world’s ideas. Put on the helmet of salvation and remind yourself Whose you are. Hold up the shield of faith to protect yourself with His Word. Strap on that breastplate of righteousness, staying close to Him, so that he can give you the kind of righteousness that can come only from Him. Do all you can to live and love like Him, being humble, honest, upright, honorable, and good to those around you. Grab hold of the sword of the Spirit-the Word of God, and pray always. And ready your feet to spread the Good News of the gospel of peace.
9. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7
He has not made us fearful. Fear is from the enemy. God gives us peace and a sense of calm that only He can give. And God gives us a sound mind. I like how the amplified Bible expands on “sound mind”. It states:
…[He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgement and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.]
10. You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. -Isaiah 26:3
This is my very favorite verse. It’s one I turn to often when I am stressed or anxious. The peace He gives is beyond anything this world can give. He will blanket us with this peace if we keep our eyes fixed on Him and trust Him-but we must not let our eyes wander and let that fear slip in. We must guard our hearts and minds and not allow it to take over. Fear is the opposite of faith. And by putting our faith in Him, we are trusting. If we are in the fear though, we are not trusting.
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. -Matthew 14:17-21
Yesterday was a tough day. I’ve had a lot of those lately-days where hanging onto Him is all I can do. Today though, He poured out the blessings. Since our second move in two months-the first across the country, and the second just last week, money has been tight. We were unprepared to replace things once again lost to toxic mold and although we have a stockpile of canned food that we were trying to save in case of an emergency, we were running low on our typical supply of fresh meat. With just $20.88 left in our budget to purchase meat for the next ten days, I’ll admit, I was stressing a bit. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? The world tells us that we have to figure it all out on our own, that we have to meet our needs in our own strength, but guess what? This isn’t true-because He knows just what we need and He is the Great Provider. He not only cares about our every need, He is our biggest need. And when we keep the faith and we trust Him even during the most trying of times, when we run to Him instead of our addictions or our distractions, we can be sure that He will always be there for us, filling us up with His love. He showed me today that He had us. I didn’t need to stress. I didn’t need to worry. He had us and He has you too.
He intervened today at the grocery store in a most peculiar, but incredible way. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was Him. When my husband ran to the store, I told him to just grab one $11 pack of chicken and we would somehow make what we have stretch. God had another plan though and he blessed the socks off of us. Typically, I would buy about $110 worth of chicken for our family of four, for a two week period. We needed a few other things to get by for the next two weeks as well, and twenty dollars just wasn’t enough. I was so wrong, because about twenty minutes after my husband left, I got the call from the parking lot.
He called to tell me that as he had meandered his way toward the seafood department at Fred Meyer-still several feet away from the poultry section, an employee, out of nowhere, asked “Sir, are you looking for organic chicken breast?” A bit confused by how this man would know this, my husband looked around to make sure the worker was talking to him. The man was looking straight at my husband, while holding up a package of chicken breast, stating that it was currently 49 cents a pound. My husband told the man, that yes, actually he was looking for organic chicken, but he was perplexed by the price (it’s normally $6.99 a pound). The man stated that today is the sell by date and so the chicken would need to be eaten or frozen by tomorrow. My husband asked how many he had and the meat department employee answered “eleven packs.” My husband, humored by it all and oh so grateful, with a huge grin, later told me “I came for $11 worth of chicken, and He gives me 11 chickens instead!” Only God can do that. And the total cost of the chicken and few other grocery items he picked up? $19.88! Exactly $1 less than what was left in our budget!
That wasn’t all though. God did something else. I wanted to buy our girls some new colored pencils and erasers for school, but with extras we had to purchase due to the move, there was just no money to get them this paycheck. As my husband walked out of the grocery store, he found $12 rolled up on the ground outside. It was as though God dropped the perfect amount from the sky to be able to purchase the school supplies.
And He poured out yet another blessing tonight. New to Alaska cabin life, we are learning just how chilly it is. The wood floors are always freezing cold and slippers are a must. A day ago, my husband showed me that the entire front sole of his slipper had come apart and he was hoping to buy a new pair. I could tell he was bummed when I broke the news that there was not enough money leftover right now to do so. He had attempted to sew through the rubber sole, but I knew they wouldn’t last much longer. God reminded me of two $10 coupons sitting in my Zappos online shoe store account that I was given when they did not deliver my last purchase on time. With those coupons and a $1.00 VIP credit, I was able to order my husband a brand new pair of comfy slippers that cost $27.99, and I got them for just $7.20! He cares about us, y’all. EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. He cares about it all.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6: 25-33