Finding Strength in Our New Reality

I don’t know about you, but the soberness of this unique time in history started to sink in this week. After the initial adrenaline rush of preparing for quarantine living and social distancing, I think I have begun a new level of processing.

The newness of it all has worn off and living my own version of Groundhog Day is not nearly as comical or fun as I thought it might be. 🙂 

It sort of reminds me how the excitement of a new school year quickly wears off in the daily grind.

So what are we to do? How can we grow and make the most of this unique opportunity?

If I have learned anything through the challenges I have faced over the passed few years, it would be to be honest with myself about my feelings. I try to allow myself a time, often through journaling, where I process my frustrations, anger, disappointment, sadness, grief or any other combination of emotions.

I name what I am feeling and why to the best of my ability. Then I bring it to the Lord so we can share it and He can help bear my burden. I worship to my favorite song or wait and sit in silence, if necessary, or however I feel led in the moment.

I begin to feel a lightening in my heart and sometimes I can even sense the burden coming off of me. I thank the Lord for the gift of His presence and demonstrating how He is my burden bearer.

What a glorious God! He gives us salvation over and over, then daily he carries our burdens!   Pause in his presence

Psalm 68:19

I usually ask Him what else He wants me to know right now and take time to write down whatever I sense. I review my journals regularly for overarching messages or insights.

I really feel like the Lord wants us all to learn what it means that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” (Philippians 4:13) Many, if not all of us, are being challenged to live in a new way and do things we would not choose to do. But it’s our reality and we might as well give it our best and learn all we can.

I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.

Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)

All who are willing can be trained “in the secret of overcoming all things” and the key is “Christ’s EXPLOSIVE power” INFUSING me to conquer every difficulty!”

Catch that?

Every. Single. Difficulty.

There are no exceptions.

So let’s seize this opportunity to focus on Jesus and choose to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit to be more aware of HIs presence. Let’s not get lost in the monotony of our situation, but be infused with the strength of Christ’s resurrection power that is in us as Christ followers. 

Now is the time to receive the secret of overcoming ALL things for the honor and glory of Jesus so the world may see how real He is to us, His beloved children.

May Jesus be more real, now than ever, for you and your family!

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Copyright © 2020 Alison Lewis, A Secret Spring.

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Opportunities for Growth Living in Quarantine

How are you?

Perhaps the shock of our new way of life is starting to wear off as you establish a new normal for this season.

I would encourage you to pay attention to what emotions bubbled up over the past week. It is very likely that many of us were triggered in some way by an emotional memory or traumatic event and that’s okay.

The Lord allows us to be triggered in areas where He knows we are ready for Him to bring healing. He invites us to bring those feelings to Him and dialogue about them.

Yes, I really do mean dialogue.

Expect Him to speak back as you quiet yourself and listen for His gentle impressions, still small voice or highlighted verses as you read the Bible or devotional resources.

The Holy Spirit is a real person and wants to bring you comfort and peace. There is a reason He is called the Counselor. He longs to bring truth and understanding to what is going on inside of you because He knows and cares. He loves YOU!

Since most of the world is in quarantine, we have a unique opportunity to slow down and simplify our lives to what matters most. The quarantine forces us to face ourselves and our internal reality. We have a choice: to fill our time to “just get through” or to seek to grow.

I believe many of us need to grow emotionally, spiritually, relationally or even intellectually.

I have been reviewing my journals over the past year to see what bible verses, songs or quotes have really been speaking to me. What have I heard the Lord say to me over the past year or so? What has He been teaching me?

This is important because I believe He has been uniquely preparing each of us for this time. He has equipped us with biblical truths that He wants to become a reality in our lives in a new way. This is when we go from simply mentally agreeing with biblical truth, to actually experiencing it in a way that it becomes a deep part of our life.

I have been listening to songs that have touched my heart in the last few months and asking the Lord to reveal some of the reasons He has highlighted these song to me. I then put these songs on periodically throughout the day and worship until I once again believe the truths they declare and fortify my peace.

I truly believe we have a unique opportunity for the Lord to firm up our foundations so we can truly abide in Him like never before. He wants us to be so anchored in Him that others take notice and want to know the Jesus we do.

We must choose to believe He is who He says He is and who He has demonstrated Himself to be in the Bible and in our lives up until this point.

“Jesus, the Anointed One, is always the same—yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 TPT

Our circumstances are changing, but Jesus is not. Let Him keep you anchored in this storm so that you may stand even when things are shaking all around you.

So now, beloved ones, stand firm and secure. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord, because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures.   1Corinthians 15:58 The Passion Translation

I want to leave you with this powerful song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt, “Prophesy Your Promise,” to encourage you to declare the truth of who He is in the times when it may be hard to remember.

“Fear can go to hell, shame can go there too,

I know who’s I am, God I belong to you.”

What verses or songs have been strengthening you recently?

Feel free to share them in the comments as it may encourage someone else.

Blessings to you and your family for good health and peace.

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Copyright © 2020 Alison Lewis, A Secret Spring.

All rights reserved.

Provision: One Day at a Time

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My grandmother

This past weekend we celebrated my grandmother’s 100th birthday! What a milestone! She is the mother of 4, grandmother of 9 and great-grandmother of 4. She has modeled a life of prayer and service and is deeply loved by all who know her.

Already in a reflection mode, I retrieved some scrapbooks from the attic that I had recently rediscovered.  The other night we decided to look through them as a family. It was fun sharing our baby pictures and upbringing with our kids.

In addition to the scrapbooks, I also rediscovered letters I had handwritten to my kids during their first few years of life. They were labeled by name and age and included the date they were written.

abstract black and white blur book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read out loud the first letter I had written to each of my children. It detailed my love and joy of my firstborn at 3 months old. It shared what she was able to do, what she was learning and what she was discovering. It also shared my hopes for her relationship with Jesus and the future.

After not seeing them for over 13 years, it was so amazing to go back in time and be reminded of some things we had forgotten. We laughed at the similarities that were evident at such a young age and still very true today.

We did the same for my son, although his letters started at 6 months, and were just as amazed.  Again, we laughed and marveled at the time capsule gift from what feels like ages ago. The reminders stirred up more memories and stories. Of course the kids wanted me to keep reading letters, but we decided we would only read one letter a night.

While I enjoyed the letters for all the same reasons my family did, I was even more struck by the content and how each letter highlighted areas that each child is currently struggling with. The letters repeated key themes for each child that they needed to hear and be reminded of regularly.

woman doing hand heart sign

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

I was amazed at the provision of the Lord to inspire me to write and address areas long before there were actual traumas to heal and challenges to overcome. I praised God for His care for my family! He knew we would NEED those letters on multiple levels. What I thought was just a neat idea (from somewhere) was actually His leading and showing His personal care for me and my family. While He didn’t prevent the heartaches and bad things from happening, He has walked closely with us through them and promises to continuing to do so: one day at a time.

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.  Romans 8:28 TPT

May we all have the gift to see the ways the Lord has been present and made preparations ahead of time for the hard times we have walked through or may be walking through now. He truly IS in control, and has ALWAYS been in control, working ALL things for our good.

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Copyright © 2020 Alison Lewis, A Secret Spring.

All rights reserved.

When the Waters are Rough

I don’t know where the first half of January has gone, but time continues to fly!

I haven’t been able to write until now, because of a turbulent beginning to this new decade that required I focus on my family. I have spent a lot of time praying, journaling, and processing the challenges, and I have come to believe that they are a result of God moving to bring greater healing to our family.

When God moves, things change and the shaking and transformation are not often pleasant, but necessary to become more like Christ. We are being conformed into His image and likeness and that requires some pruning.

We get stretched and pressed in such a way that buried, unprocessed emotions are driven up to be experienced, processed, and released so more of the Holy Spirit can dwell and reign in us to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22–23 (The Passion Translation)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: 

joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.” 

I need more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in my life, especially when life feels out of control and like I am getting hit, wave after wave, threatening to knock me off my feet.

I have clung to Proverbs 3:26.

“God is your confidence in times of crisis, keeping your heart at rest in every situation.”

Did you catch that? Not in some situations, but in every situation my heart can be kept at rest if my confidence is in God!

I am so thankful that I am regaining my peace much quicker. It used to take me weeks or months to regain it. Now my heart often needs only a few days to regain my footing in Christ and be at rest and peace to hear what He is saying about my situation.

The quicker I get His perspective, the deeper my rest and often the quicker I can get on the prayer offensive, if that is how He is leading me. Otherwise, I am learning to wait on Him and enjoy His Presence with me, loving those around me until I have been given another way to respond. I repeat this process as many times as necessary to overcome the challenge.

I don’t know how your start to 2020 has been, but I am praying we will all remain at rest, knowing He really is in control and working for our good in every situation, no matter what the facts may say. The truth is: nothing is impossible with God!

Love and blessings to you (and your family) to know, like never before, that His goodness and love are pursuing you!

 

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Copyright © 2020 Alison Lewis, A Secret Spring.

All rights reserved.

The Power of Perspective

Perspective is everything.

The two orphan kittens we rescued recently were understandably terrified when trapped with the aid of irresistible wet food.

They have no idea colder weather is coming.

There is no understanding that they now have access to an endless supply of wet food and warm living.

Once roaming the neighborhood, the restriction of a cage is foreign and comforting all at the same time.

Humans are suspicious rather than a source of provision and love. 

They don’t know how much love and fun awaits them as they learn to trust us.

Building trust takes time. Every positive interaction is building a bridge to connection.

We patiently reassure them and cherish every sign that they are less afraid and adapting to inside life.

They are starting to sprawl out in their cat bed and slow blink when we speak to them. They accept food from our hands and play with their toys.

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The confines are temporary.

Soon they will have access to the entire house with more places to run and play than they can imagine.

 They will learn the security of adoption with all of its rights and privileges………

 

……..just as I am finally resting in the security of my spiritual adoption in Christ Jesus.

 

Galatians 4:6-7 (TPT)

6 And so that we would know for sure that we are his true children, God released the Spirit of Sonship into our hearts—moving us to cry out intimately, “My Father! You’re our true Father!”

Now we’re no longer living like slaves under the law, but we enjoy being God’s very own sons and daughters! And because we’re his, we can access everything our Father has—for we are heirs of God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Let’s pray.

Oh Lord, I confess that I have a very limited perspective. Please help me to grow in my understanding of who You are and what You are truly like. Help me to see what You see and to trust You. Please help me continue to fully embrace my adoption as Your child and all that means in this life and for all eternity for Your honor and glory. May it be so.

 

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Receiving When You’re Not Okay

Every one of Your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for. For You hear what their hearts really long for and You bring them Your saving strength. Psalm 145:19 (TPT)

When I first became sick, all I wanted was to get better. I seriously wanted nothing but the pain and anguish to stop. I wanted to feel okay. I wanted to BE okay.

However, I had symptoms and a diagnosis that reminded me, that for right now, I was not okay. I listened to my doctor, who was hopeful and positive, yet insistent about the gravity of my condition and the need to follow her directions.

Thankfully, between my weakness and the medicine I was given to help bring stability, and ultimately healing, I slept a lot.

I have been through some hard times in my life, but this was so much different than anything I had ever faced. I had never been this incapacitated in my life. I was totally dependent on my husband and those the Lord graciously sent to help care for me.

I had no choice but to receive.

I couldn’t read my Bible or pray or journal.

I had to receive the Lord’s love and acceptance just because He loves me. There was no striving, earning or performing.

It was uncomfortable in almost every way, but I was just too weak. I surrendered.

I had a very strong knowing of His presence with me in the lowest of lows. I felt His understanding of and compassion for my suffering. He sat with me IN my suffering. He comforted me IN my suffering. He loved me IN my suffering.

As time went by, I still wanted to feel better, but I was okay because He was with me. I valued His presence and felt His love and that anchored me in the midst of the storm. I began to value Him more than my own well being.

He loved me back to health and life and became my saving strength.

Let’s pray.

Lord, I thank You for Your faithfulness to me during my darkest days. Thank You for always being with me and comforting me. Thank You for understanding my suffering in a way no one else can. Please help me to continually find comfort in You and the depth of Your love for me. Lord, I lift up my brothers and sisters who may be suffering right now. I lift them into Your loving care and ask that You would surround them in songs of deliverance and help them to receive all You have for them. Please help them to know that You hear what their hearts really long for and You are bringing them Your saving strength for the honor and glory of Jesus. May it be so.