Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: praise

A Surprising Way to Cultivate Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving–a celebration of joy, gratitude, family, and delicious food. And while I plan on spending time with loved ones and going into a turkey coma, I can’t help but think of those who are overlooked this season.

You see, I know a woman whose teenage son died last weekend. Her heart is broken. I also know a family whose father is slowly dying of cancer. Their spirits are weary.

Where is the Thanksgiving turkey for these people? Most of the time we struggle to find gratitude in our everyday lives (myself included). How does remembering these hurting souls help us in cultivating a heart of gratitude?

The Calling

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isaiah 61:1 NIV

God has given us a calling to bring the good news of the Gospel to others. Our calling is to feed the hungry, love the outcast, and comfort the brokenhearted.

However, we are so easily distracted by everyday problems that we don’t even notice those who are hurting right in front of us. We all go through seasons of hardship and loss. Right now I am battling a chronic illness, and sometimes I just want to lock myself in my room and focus on how bad I feel.

But the best way to experience healing and joy is by sharing the Gospel and helping somebody else.

True Gratitude

The moment we turn our focus outward and love the people around us is the moment we experience the love of Christ flowing through us. The moment we stop focusing on all of our problems and dedicate time to encourage others is the moment we experience an overflow of gratitude.

That’s powerful! Imagine shining a light by praying for someone you know is hurting, or volunteering to feed the hungry. Imagine inviting a person who has no place to go to your Thanksgiving dinner. Even a simple text message of encouragement makes more of an impact than we realize.

This, lovely one, is how you love your neighbor. And this is how you cultivate true gratitude.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV)

Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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How to Find Healing In a Sick World

Yesterday was one of the those days where I just couldn’t win. No matter what I did, I could barely get out of bed. Walking was difficult and concentrating took all of the energy I had. My body refused to cooperate with my mind, but I still pressed on.

This is my life with POTS right now. I say “right now” because I believe God’s healing power is at work in me. But I can’t deny the reality that although my body is healthy, it doesn’t work the way it should.

Isn’t it strange how when you’re sick, the feeling leaks into all areas of your life? Work and school become difficult. Your mood tanks, and you stop feeling like yourself.

Unfortunately, there is an illness affecting all people around the world that can hurt our lives far more than any physical ailment.

The Sickness

The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned! For this our heart has become sick, for these things our eyes have grown dim, (Lamentations 5:16-17 ESV

Sin. It’s the word no one wants to talk about–except for the sweaty preachers yelling about it from the pulpit. But when you really stop and think about it, sin is the cause of the major ills of society.

Wars, mass shootings, racism, dishonest companies–and more. We all see it in the news. It’s obvious we, as human beings, have a problem.

We’ve become so consumed by greed, lust, and hatred, that we don’t even see the wickedness taking root in our hearts.

The Cure

I know I just painted a gloomy picture in your mind, but there is hope in the midst of all this pain. There is a cure for sin, and His name is Jesus.

If we call on the name of Jesus, the Son of God, and honestly turn our hearts away from sin, we will be forgiven and restored!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)

God takes us in His loving arms and places us on the right path again. He helps us see our sickness and restores us to spiritual health.

Sometimes we get so lost in our sin that we can’t even remember what it feels like to be healthy and alive spiritually. But there is healing in Christ, and all we have to do is ask for it and believe.

The Healing 

Although God frees us from sin and condemnation with His grace, we’re not perfect in this life and we still live in a world scarred by sin. Even though as a believer we are made new, we still suffer from temptations, mental health issues, and physical pain and sickness.

How do we experience healing when we live in a spiritually sick world?

When I was at church last Sunday, I found myself unable to stand during worship. The dizziness was pulling me down and I felt too weak to fight it. I’m only 23 years old, and I could have easily let this make me feel bitter and depressed (and I’ll admit that sometimes it does).

But while we were singing about victory in Christ, I couldn’t help but smile as God whispered these words into my heart.

Praise brings healing

I can still praise from here. 

When depression, anxiety, bad news, or sin makes you feel trapped, remember that nothing can rob you of your praise! The devil wants to take you to your knees and make you believe that you have lost.

But you haven’t lost, lovely one. You can still praise. No matter where you’re at–whether on top of a mountain or crumpled on the floor–you can still pour out your heart to God.

The key to healing spiritually is not found in your own strength. It can only be revealed when you pour out your praise, and in return, let the love of Jesus fill your heart.

But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14 NKJV)

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

I also want to give a shout out to Owen Wolf for giving me the inspiration to write this post. You are so encouraging!

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The Bare Bones of Worship

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Photo by Mandy

Life can be stressful. Correction–life is more like a vortex of stress, busyness, joy, and difficulty all mixed together. Even the good times can be overwhelming and just darn distracting. All of these distractions can easily affect our worship.

Some distractions are mundane–social media, kids, work, and T.V. But what about the hard times? What about the giants of life such as sick family members, finals, or financial worries?

These giants can become so big, that they distract us from God even in our worship. This happens when our problems become bigger than the God of our lives. 

I love to worship and praise to music, and I am blessed to be able to do that a lot with the youth group I serve. Obviously worship isn’t just singing; it’s a lifestyle. It is when we put God before ourselves in every situation. 

But what about those intimate and powerful moments that often happen in corporate worship?

The perfectionist in me wants to do everything right–something I know is impossible because I am not Jesus. I must confess that this perfectionist attitude has pervaded my prayer and praise life recently. Even while singing the right songs and giving God glory, my mind couldn’t help but wonder toward my problems and getting them solved. 

I would pray about these troubles, but somehow I didn’t feel as intimately connected to God as I used to. That’s when our youth pastor’s lovely wife, Mandy, gave the students this beautiful reminder:

Release your praise, and He will release His presence.

And that’s when I realized where I had been going wrong these last couple of weeks. I was letting life take over my time with Jesus. I was putting distractions, even good ones such as praying about things, ahead of just soaking in who God is.

My soul was craving quality time with my Heavenly Father. 

After Mandy said this quote, the whole room broke out with students worshiping and praising God. Our focus was where it always should have been. Instead of focusing on how great our problems were, we focused on how great our God is!

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2 NKJV).

From now on I am dedicating time everyday to just bask in God’s presence and praise Him. This has actually helped my prayer life and has reduced the stress from my troubles! Now I feel more able to serve and lead where God has called me. Trust me, the more time you spend getting to know God, the more you crave His presence. 

My challenge for you is that you will set aside time everyday this week–even if it’s just 15 minutes–to simply praise God and rest in His presence. If you take this time to honor God and put Him first, He will release His presence! This is the bare bones of worship, letting Jesus be the number one thing in our lives. Letting the King of Kings to be the king of our hearts.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share 🙂 I love hearing from you!

 

The Secret to Joy

praise quote

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the song “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!” I would sing it back, knowing that God gave joy to my heart. How much did I really know God’s joy? Hardly at all compared to what I know now. There is a secret key to always having happiness and joy down in your heart. It’s more than just a choice or attitude adjustment, and it’s not hard to do. So what is this secret to everlasting joy?

Having a heart of praise.

That’s right– praise God! In my church I have made some awesome and joyful friends, both young and old, and they all have one thing in common: praise is always on their lips.

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1 KJV).

When you develop a heart of praise, it’s impossible to feel hopeless and depressed. It’s not that you will never feel sad or lonely or upset, but you know that God is always there listening to you and loving you more than anyone ever could. It’s knowing that there is hope for the future, and that God works out everything for our good and His glory in the end.

Life here on Earth has suffering. That’s a consequence of sin and the worldly influence around us. But no matter what happens or how bleak your circumstances are remember this: Jesus, God’s one and only Son, died an innocent death and shed His blood so you could have eternal life with His father. He loves you so much He gave His own life so you could be adopted into royalty!

When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me (Psalm 27:10 NKJV).

God is your heavenly Father and always will be! So give Him your praise all day long. You don’t have to do anything special or interrupt important activities (unless God is tugging at your heart to do so). Just turn your thoughts to praise of all that the Lord has done for you. Mutter under your breath how glorious He is.

My favorite way to give praise to the Lord is to sing or hum to Him songs of worship and praise. Grandma got it right– there is something about singing that just lifts you up.There are Christian radio stations and albums, as well as the songs you sing at church to help foster praise. I believe that singing out to God is like sending Him a love letter. It also moves us and gets us in tune with the Holy Spirit. I’ve noticed a lot lately that if I am singing songs of praise and giving thanks for all God has done for me and all that He is, then my heart really does have joy!

How do you give God praise? Please comment below 🙂

Love, Emily <3

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