(God's Response to Stressed-Out Moms)
By Tamara Eaton
The gauge was already in the red area and climbing --how much more pressure could the cooker stand before blowing? Frantically, I flipped through the instruction manual, trying to see what I could do to relieve the pressure. Did I follow the recipe exactly? I was no longer sure, but I had to do something fast. Quickly, I reached to turn off the burner, but the knob came off in my hand.... this is how I feel when life's pressures are mounting and I'm battling to stay in control!
Life is filled with stresses and pressures and we can't eliminate them all, but some pressure we bring upon ourselves by making wrong choices or neglecting to seek the Lord and trust in His strength and wisdom. Pressures also tend to multiply when we don't deal with them properly. Molehills quickly turn into mountains if we lose our focus and perspective -- but God wants to give us His perspective and operate in His power! Pressure yields positive results when we are driven to the Lord, allowing Him to mature us through the trials. I like how J.N. Darby translates Psalm 4:1 , "In pressure Thou has enlarged me."
Are we allowing our trials to “enlarge us” by yielding ourselves fully to the Lord, or are we so blinded by despair and self-pity we neglect to discern what He wants to accomplish in and through us?
The Lord has given us all the tools we need to handle stress and He won’t allow more than we can handle. He promises to empower and sustain us even in the midst of the battle. As His Word describes, sometimes we feel "hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..." (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9)
We can rejoice and be thankful for His sustenance even as we wait for His deliverance!
Someone shared this quote with me years ago and it has stuck with me -"If you feel like you're between a rock and a hard place -just remember Who the Rock is!" We know Who our Rock because He’s revealed Himself to us in His Word:
“For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect...You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip…For You have armed me with strength for the battle…You have delivered me from the strivings of the people…The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (From Psalm 18)
God promises over and over again to be that "place of refuge" for us! I have been so blessed to meditate on all of this and realize my desire for peace and quiet and a nice deserted island somewhere (with all the comforts of home but none of the stresses!) can be fulfilled by "abiding in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91).
Just think about it:
* When you feel like crawling in a cave...God's got the place of refuge!
“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” –Psalm 9:9-10
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” –Psalm 46:1-2
“But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.” –Psalm 59:16-17
“In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” –Psalm 62:7-8
* When you feel like you need someone to take care of YOU....God promises to do so!
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." –Matthew 11:28-30
“…He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear…" –Hebrews 13:5b-6a
* When you feel like nobody understands....God DOES!
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” -- Hebrews 4:15-16
* When you feel like you can't go on....God promises to carry you!
"Listen to Me…Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” –Isaiah 46:3-4
* When you feel like your burden's too heavy...cast it at His feet.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” –1 Peter 5:6-7
* When you feel like your suffering is unique...remember the saints of old who suffered trials, yet overcame by faith in God. (Read Job and Hebrews 11 just for a few examples!)
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” –Hebrews 12:1-2a
* When you feel you've lost all strength...let God be your strength!
“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:26
“The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” –Psalm 29.11
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD…” –Psalm 18:2-3a
“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD…” –Psalm 71:16a
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." –Nehemiah 8:10
Sometimes we allow ourselves to be so overwhelmed by circumstances we lose our focus. What once seemed so clear becomes fuzzy and we are hindered and discouraged by our lack of purpose. We reel to and fro, and stagger from the events of each day. We become weary, battered, and defeated. The Psalmist describes the following circumstances in Psalm 107:
“They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits' end.”
[Sound familiar yet? But look what happens next…]
“Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.”
[How refreshing that sounds! May we all allow Him to guide us to His Haven of rest and peace!]
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” --Psalm 107:26-31
We dare not look to people nor events to define our goals and purposes, nor should we attempt to find our own manmade “havens of rest” by using the world's methods of escape. While there is a place for recreation and "light reading" and some forms of entertainment --some have made these things their gods without realizing it. Recreation and entertainment without God never produces lasting refreshment.
We must keep our eyes on Jesus and make sure we don't allow our personal relationship with Him to grown stagnant. I know I've had times in my life when I've suddenly felt so confused and weary I haven't known where to start to get back to a "normal" routine. Sometimes this has been a result of my growing increasingly busy and neglectful of my daily time in the Word and with the Lord in prayer. No matter how busy I am, I need His constant refreshing and the wisdom that comes through studying His Word and communing with Him.
Spending time in His Word and in His presence is the solution to all our troubles and stresses and pressures. His Word strengthens us and equips us --it produces life! The busier I get, the more I dare not neglect my relationship with the Lord. He alone is my Sustainer and Enabler.
Make time today to read His Word and ask Him to show you His perspective and priorities for your life --then expect Him to give you the grace and strength to walk in it all. He will surely come through for you!
Is It Too Late?
Perhaps you realize now that you haven't trusted the Lord for wisdom and direction or given your life fully to Him...it's not too late to do something about that right now!
In 2 Chronicles 15, the Lord encourages us with the example of His mercy toward Israel. Israel had forsaken the Lord and so the Lord had allowed trials and adversity to come upon them. Yet, when they repented and turned from their sins and idolatry, He was so merciful and gracious toward them. He hasn’t changed, He will demonstrate His mercy and love toward you, too!
"The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them …Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul..." --2 Chronicles 15:1-4, 12
Allow yourself to be “found by Him” and you’ll know what it is to be filled with “joy unspeakable and full of Glory” (1 Peter 1:7-9) –even in the midst of pressure! Allow Jesus to become your Haven of Rest, your Strength, and your Sustenance!
[For tips on devotion, discerning God's Voice, and Bible study for busy moms see: "In His Presence" and "Where Are You, God?" ]
More Encouragement from Scriptures:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.” –1 Peter 1:7-9
“Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights. The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live. I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes. I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies. I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.” –Psalm 119:143-147
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” – Psalm 138:7-8
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” –Psalm 139:7-8
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[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
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