Endure in His Strength

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. -Isaiah 40:29

There have been many days that I wasn’t sure I would get through. Living with chronic illnesses can be unpredictable, never knowing what each day will bring. I’m learning that we don’t need to do more than God asks of us. He will give us what we need-even strength to get through moment by moment when we are walking through fiery trials. On those days when I’m at my weakest, is when his strength pulls through for me. It’s those days, when I feel Him strongly at work in me-it’s those days, that he is teaching me to be fully dependent on Him-because, frankly, it’s the only way to be. I’ve tried my way. It doesn’t work. He, however, gives me the strength and rest needed each day to persevere.

So let us not walk in the flesh, but rather cry out to Him for the strength to endure, the strength to carry on when those boulders in front of us block the way and are too big to move ourselves, when all feels impossible. God can move mountains. For with Him and in Him, anything is possible.

As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. -Psalm 138:3

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, quote or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

Victor Frankl said, “What is to give light must endure the burning.”

How will you turn the trials and pain you endure into a light for others?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12

Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, quote or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

Rick Warren said, “God changes caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds using time and pressure. He’s working on you, too.”

As He’s working on you, how will you use the circumstances He’s shaping you with to grow and become more like Jesus today?

He is All that I Need

The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need. -Psalm 23:1

Last week, something odd happened. I awoke with this Bible verse turning over and over in my mind. This has never happened to me before, nor can I ever recall having God speak to me through my dreams. Maybe this is a first?

As I lay there dozing in and out, I remember rattling off these words again and again: The Lord is my shepherd. He is all that I need. For awhile now, I’ve felt like He has been telling me this and apparently, this particular morning, God was really trying to pound it into me.

What I find even more interesting is that I will often start drafts of posts, to later come back and write more. I had forgotten about this post until I came across it tonight trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about. In His most impeccable timing, I saw the title I had written and once again, knew it was His way of reminding me of this after a most trying weekend.

This past weekend was one of those-can-I-please-just-pull-the-covers-over-my-head-and-keep-dreaming-so-I-don’t-have-to-get-up kinda weekends. This, along with the last three years of our lives, made me question life itself. It can be difficult to not understand what God’s plans are and yet, keep running the race. Without going into every detail, we have had to move several times in the past three years due to toxic mold exposure and environmental sensitivities. We are in another temporary living situation and were supposed to move into a different cabin this weekend, however, after moving nearly all of our stuff, we were not able to stay there. The entire cabin had been freshly varnished recently and although it had been aired out, it smelled so strongly, our belongings even smelled like varnish. So, after moving everything, it all had to go back to the cabin we came from. It felt like such a waste of time, energy and hard work. I know that there are different seasons in each of our lives, and then the seasons change, but this season we have been in the past few years has been extremely challenging, to say the least. Yes, there have been many adventures that I am so very grateful for, but there has also been a lot of hard.

I can’t help but wonder, after losing nearly everything we owned to toxic mold almost three years ago, when we will have a more permanent home. It’s all just wordly “stuff”, I know, and we are not of this world. Maybe though, I’m still grieving our losses-our health, our home, our belongings, my social work career, and private school for our girls. That’s a lot to lose in one shot. And it doesn’t include the more recent loss of seeing family due to Covid and our big move to Alaska. It’s tough not to compare our life before toxic mold, to the hardships we have endured since, or to others lives, but I know He’s refining us. There are definitely lessons in all of this. We are learning to trust God more and choose faith over fear. And we are being taught to wait patiently.

Today, I’m weary, but I’m going to choose faith. I’m going to keep my eyes on Him and remind myself that my prize isn’t this side of heaven. He’s telling me that He’s all I need, and maybe until I really, truly comprehend that on a heart-level, He won’t give me any more.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:18

It was All an Illusion

The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. -Psalm 116:6

The memories I have as a child feeling safe are a bit foggy, but they are definitely there. I can see them if I sift through the clouds. Those are the ones that shine bright in my mind, when I let them peek through the fog. I don’t allow myself to go there often though, because that time has long passed. Having blocked out a lot after the age of thirteen, part of me doesn’t like looking back-back before that time, when my life felt absolutely perfect. Yet, when I consciously dig, I can see that young, curly-haired, barefoot girl running wild and free in our neatly landscaped yard, without a care in the world. I miss those times. I sure do. Those were the times when I felt safe and secure. Life was easy back then-simple, or so I thought.

It was an illusion though, growing up living the American dream. I found out all too suddenly that safety didn’t lie in your mom, dad, brother, or dog living together in a beautiful house in the country with neighbor kids to play with nearby. Safety didn’t lie in family camping trips, going to Disneyland together, or a new 5-speed bike for my birthday. It didn’t lie in having best friend sleepovers all the time or my dad building us an amazing fort in our backyard. Safety didn’t lie in playing weekly soccer games or going water skiing together on the river. No, see, these are wordly things and those of us who believe in Jesus are not of this world. Those things and people aren’t our safety net.

When I lost my family, I lost my sense of safety and security. It all came tumbling down like a tower built on the sand. Baptized Catholic and forced to attend church service each Sunday when I was younger, the focus back then, was the religious rituals. Despite the religion, my life was still built on worldly things. I didn’t really understand having a relationship with God at that point in my life, and although my parents tried, I don’t think they really did either. So, these worldly things that my life was built on, came crashing down hard. Like everything on earth that perishes, that life was temporary.

The family I once knew and felt secure in, eventually died. My family unit was ripped apart in an instant like a vicious wolf tearing apart its prey. Each day suddenly became confusing and scary and painful-oh so painful-too painful, in fact, for my thirteen year-old self to take. I tried to carry it, but my body gave out. This was the beginning of what my life would eventually become. The start of something new-not easy, but new-a 180 degree turn in my life. Not only did I learn to walk in fear, it was the start of a life searching for answers in all the wrong places-addictions, people, answers to my illnesses, and answers about God.

After years of picking up the pieces, and trying to figure life out, brick by brick God began helping me build my life on Him. This life He is helping me build is one based on faith, not fear. He, I’m learning, is the only One I can put my entire trust in. And the only way to remain truly safe, is to remain a child of God, with childlike faith.

So let us reach for and trust our Heavenly Father with childlike faith, knowing that He will carry us, especially in our most trying times, because He sure will. He is love, and where there is love, there is no place for fear. The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, is walking with us every step of every moment. And He is the only One we can truly count on in this life. Our Heavenly Father will never fail us.

and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 18:3-4 (AMP)

Catching Those Tears

Grief, it comes and goes

like a gust of wind that blows

It will knock you down

then up again you rebound

Out to sea and back in waves

no longer counting the days

The pain and sorrow

it may not come tomorrow

but it will be back

The loss you feel will attack

Wounds opened will bleed

and Jesus’s strength you will need

to walk through the ache

survive another heartbreak

because scars that deep

your body doesn’t release

Left are the imprints

days of old trauma remnants

They’ll surface again

when that gale of wind blows in

Grief it comes and goes

but Jesus is in the throes

with you through it all

catching those tears as they fall

© 2021 Aimee Phillippi