Faith: Troubled Water

 

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Renee Gill

I sat down to write about this month’s theme and I thought about the many ways I build and renew my faith. I started writing all that came to mind and realized I have used many different ways to remind myself to strengthen my faith to help me overcome doubts, struggles, or just moments of feeling down. They are all rooted in my belief that God will provide and that He has a plan, even if it is incomprehensible to me at the moment.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

He has the map… so let go of your grip on control, let go of the anxiety of not knowing what path to take, and cast those worries on Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 3.06.10 PMDo you ever have a day that you just hit an emotional wall? When you’re just tired of everything? I definitely have those days where life feels heavier than I can carry and I need to find ways to rest in Him so I can fill my cup of faith. I find myself reading devotionals, journaling, or listening to podcasts for inspiration.  I have found a few apps that I wake up to or I just sit and read different bible verses. A verse or two usually pops out of the devotional I’m reading that will speak to me, like God is sending me a personal message. It renews my faith and gives me a peaceful energy. 

When we are weary and burdened, having faith is extra challenging. We all have coping mechanisms we use to help deal with stress and music is definitely a way I have worked through emotions. Music is such a beautiful way to expand and intensify His Word and strengthen faith. Just listening to Christian music in the car while I drive can increase my faith, especially on those days when I’m hitting an emotional wall. I absolutely love Simon & Garfinkel’s song, “Bridge over Troubled Water”. I imagine God’s Words are that bridge.  I grew up dancing and choreographed a dance to this song when I was in my teens. Even as a young girl, I wanted to share encouraging words with others.  I’m sure at the time it helped me emotionally as well. I picture Jesus singing these words to me. His Words remind me to stay close to him and not to stray from my path of faith. Here’s a section of the song…

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Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 3.13.43 PMImagery, especially with nature, is another way I ground myself and draw myself closer to Him.  Sitting quietly with nature and reflecting in awe of the world God created brings a feeling of hope and simple gratefulness. It’s rejuvenating to be in an open space outside and breathe the fresh air, taking in His goodness. Many verses in scripture contain imagery or examples of things in nature to draw us in….I love Matthew 17:20 (NIV) where Jesus reminds his disciples of the power of faith. 

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  

Faith as small as a mustard seed? That seems possible!  This verse also reminds me of my love for and focus on planting seeds in my life. Because of my faith in Jesus, I know that the Lord works through me as I abide in Him.  It is Him that allows me to plant seeds of hope and joy that make an impact in this world one person at a time, one moment at a time.  Only my faith in my God and Savior makes this possible. 

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Sitting at the beach, I was watching the waves crash onto the shore. I was reminded of how God can quiet the waves of the sea just as he can quiet our troubled hearts. In Psalm 107:29 (NIV) 

“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”

As we struggle to keep balanced in life, it can be so hard to stay standing as we are pummeled with the crashing waves of life’s challenges. I am constantly reminded that my life is ever changing.  Struggles, both big and small, crashing into us like the waves, bring constant change upon us like the sand on the shoreline. It can be hard to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord standing in the rough water. But as he tells us in James 1:6 (NIV)

“but when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” 

All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed, immerse yourself in His word, listen to music, or sit outside and be still.  Take a moment to quiet your heart and reflect on His beauty in nature that is around us. Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 3.05.31 PM

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