It’s funny how you can read a scripture and get “stuck” on it.
Like when you feel as if God must’ve written this one just for you and it’s on repeat like a broken record in your mind. This happened to me when I read Psalm 37:24: “Though they may stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
Really simple. But the phrase, “though they may stumble” is one I can’t quite shake.
When I first set out to write this blog, I was focusing on the perspective of moms stumbling. How trying and tiring and (quite honestly) bleak some days look. How often I feel (as I’m sure you do) that you must be falling. How one day after another we stumble and God is oh so gracious to hold us up.
I was lying with my big girl one night recently to help her fall asleep and I felt God whisper. “Though she may stumble”. No Lord, I pleaded. I want her to stay little forever and never have to be exposed to the harshness of the world. To watch her stumble would be such a helpless feeling. It has to be the absolute worst to watch someone we love dearly stumble. We live in a fallen world and the result of that is that ALL of us will stumble.
The wayward son whom you’ve prayed for years, the daughter who is believing what the guys at school say to her over truth, the addicted family member in and out of rehab, the husband who can’t stand up under the pressures of family and work, the toddler who (literally) stumbles everywhere.
Here is the good news: Jesus took the fall so we wouldn’t have to. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5)
One translation of Psalm 37:24 states “Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the Lord holds his hand” I love the visual this gives us. I envision a mom holding her wobbly toddler’s hand as he tries to shakily walk along. And while he most likely will trip, she will not let him fall on his face. See, when he starts to fall, she will grip him by the hand even more tightly and keep him upright.
I think God is saying to you, dear friend: that person you love, the one who is stumbling and you feel helpless… don’t lose heart. If they are in Christ, they will not fall headlong. The Almighty One has them by the hand. And though they may stumble, the Lord will uphold them. He is trustworthy and good. We can rest in knowing that it is not our job to keep them from falling.
Our responsibility is to pray and leave the rest in God’s hands. And truly, those are the best hands to be in.
Word of the Day:
“Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the Lord holds his hand” Psalm 37:24
Jesus, You say in your word that though we may stumble, we will not fall if we are your children. Many days it feels as if we are falling, but we claim this promise in your name. You will not let us fall on our face. You are the one who upholds us and we are so grateful. Give us grace for today and the wisdom to see loved ones, not as stumbling, but as being held up by your mighty hand. Amen.
Author: Emily Goss
“Is that tearing down, mom?” My oldest asked from the backseat of the car and quickly brought me out of my daze. “Huh?” confused by his question. “When someone says “stupid or poop or something not nice… Is that tearing down?”
I was piecing it together now from a conversation we had earlier that week.. I had shared Ephesians 4:29 with my boy. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
We were having one of those weeks where the “building up” words were hard to come by yet the “tearing down” words seemed to multiply.
And the hard truth was, I needed to be reminded of this verse as much (if not more) than my five year old. And while explaining the power of his words, whether good or bad, conviction fell heavy on me.
Because, if I’m honest, I often speak without thinking. We call this “not using your filter” in my house. When I’m tired and frustrated with my kids, the words that come out of my mouth are not commonly “useful for building up”. When I’m with a friend and we are talking about another mom and her struggles when she’s not present to defend herself, I’m most certainly not using my words to benefit those who listen. When I’m giving my husband the silent treatment or the condescending tone, I have neglected to build him up according to his needs.
Webster’s dictionary defines unwholesome like this: detrimental to physical, mental or moral well-being, unhealthy.
Did you realize your words literally have the power to make an environment or person sick? I’m not talking about physically sick. I’m saying our words have the power to poison a conversation.
The good news is that we also have the power to use our words constructively, for the good of those who listen.
The Bible says in Luke 6:45, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
The mouth speaks what the heart is full of… That part just about always makes me cringe. Because I know what my mouth speaks a lot of times and that is not what I want my heart to be full of! My harsh and unkind words are merely a symptom of the root disease in my heart. I have to allow Jesus access to my heart and ask Him to forgive me and purify my heart if I want to change from the inside out.
But the same is true for the reverse: If good is stored in a man’s heart, guess what is going to come out? Good things! Words that are useful for building up and not for tearing down.
How do I make sure good is in my heart? God says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
The key to ensuring our words are uplifting and healthy instead of unwholesome is this: we fill our minds and hearts with God’s word. With God’s Word on our tongues, we can be sure our conversation will benefit those who listen.
“Is that tearing down?” Let’s ask ourselves this question as we go about our day. If our answer is yes, let’s ask Jesus to enable us to build others up instead.
As we desire to be women who build others up according to their needs, so let’s be women who are full of God’s words; who have healthy hearts and therefore healthy conversations.
Word of the Day:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
Jesus, search my heart now, Lord. I desire to not let any unwholesome talk escape my lips today. Help me to guard my tongue and filter my words. May I honor you with my conversation by hiding your Word in my heart. Enable me to encourage those I come in contact with today. Thank you Jesus.
Author: Emily Goss
I have always loved the story of Hosea. What an amazing account of unconditional love. While Gomer was living in prostitution, Hosea was obedient to God's calling, and made her his wife. Even after they married and Gomer ran back to a scandalous lifestyle, Hosea continued to pursue her.
Surprisingly enough, this shocking story is a picture of the Gospel. I remember the first time I heard this story and felt the sting of "oh yea, that's talking about me and my relationship with Christ.” How I was the one who ran... I was unfaithful and quite unlovable. And in the midst of my disgrace, He came after me.
Hosea 6:3 says "Let us acknowledge The Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
If I am honest, most days I have to press on to acknowledge Christ. I have to really make an effort to glorify and cherish Him. It's not really my default setting. My heart’s desire is to know Christ, but my flesh pulls me in the opposite direction. I push through the day with my focus on other things. Like coffee. And nap time. And my thoughts turn to me me me! I often get to the end of the day and wonder why things feel so dark, and I'm all dried up.
I think there is a reason Hosea says, “Let us acknowledge The Lord,” twice. See, he was writing to the Israelites, and two verses prior was begging them to "return to The Lord" ( Hosea 6:1). He knew, however, once they returned, they would be tempted to try and go their own way again. So he emphasizes how zealous we should be in cherishing Christ by adding the words "press on.”
And as surely as the sun rises (maybe not before your toddler), He promises to show Himself to us. And just as we need the sun; we are desperate for the rain. And He promises that too.
If things seem dark today, press on. Acknowledge Him, and He will shine.
If you feel empty or dried up, press on. Acknowledge Him, and He will send the rain.
We all know a mom's day seems never ending. With car-lines and sippy cups, homework and baseball practice, sometimes it can be all we can do to press on. Let me encourage you to take time to acknowledge The Lord. He is ever faithful. He won't stop pursuing you now. "He will come to us" and if that's all we have today, then that is more than enough.
Word of the day
"God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning." Lamentations 3:23 (MSG)
Jesus, thank you for the promise of your presence. Thank you that when I run far, you are near. Lord, help me to press on to acknowledge you in the dark as you promise to send the light. Help me to push through the drought and know you will send the rain. I will press on and let you do the rest. Thank you Jesus.
Author: Emily Goss
When I was little, I used to sleepwalk frequently. I remember one particular, terrifying instance in which I slept walked into a corner in my room. I woke up and began banging the walls thinking I was trapped somehow. Darkness enveloped me, and I was afraid. No matter where I moved or put my hands, all I felt were the walls around me. Until my dad came in and turned on the light.
When the light came on, I realized I was still in the comfort of my room, and I easily found my way out of the corner I had been stuck in. Heart racing, I could see that I had only traveled a few feet from my bed. But because I couldn’t see, I was afraid.
In my confusion and fear, all I knew was the darkness. My fear clouded my judgement and ability to think beyond my situation. If I had just felt along the wall a few more feet, I would’ve been able to flip the light switch on and see there was nothing to be afraid of. But instead, I allowed the darkness to overcome me.
There is something so amazing about even the tiniest bit of light when you’ve been in the darkness for a long time. Even the smallest flame can illuminate a room full of solid black. John 1:5 says “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
The Bible says that we have been called out of darkness. That means that because of our sin, we deserve death and eternal darkness. But, because of God’s great grace and love for us, we don’t have to wander in the darkness anymore. Jesus has opened our eyes and turned the light switch on.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
His marvelous light.
You see, Jesus called us out of the darkness into the light, to be the light. We have not been called out of the darkness and experienced the light just to wander back into the darkness. No, in fact, Jesus calls us the light of the world.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14).
You may not feel like much of a light to the world. Maybe you are going through a season of darkness and wonder how you can possibly shine the light of Jesus. Maybe you are experiencing health problems, a wayward child, marital strife, or depression. And things seem way dark.
Let me encourage you to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of the darkness” as it says in our key verse for today. Instead of focusing on your “dark:” try being light to someone today. To your husband, your children, co-workers, and friends, shine the light of Jesus.
What does light look like? It looks like serving others and honoring them. It looks like showing grace and saying “I love you” when a family member hurts you. It looks like giving the waitress with subpar service a really awesome tip. It looks like walking across the street to check on your elderly neighbor. Light looks like volunteering an hour of your time a week to serve at church.
Today, let’s choose to be the marvelous light that Jesus has called us to be. Thankful that He has called us out of the darkness to be light to those who need it. Who can you be light to today?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Jesus, Thank you for calling me out of the darkness to be the light. Show me today who I can shine the light of Jesus on. Give me the courage to show grace and love to others so they may see your light in me. Amen.
Author: Emily Goss
Spilling the blueberries all over the already dirty kitchen floor was what put me over the edge that day. Now, you know there was twenty-seven little things that I allowed to beat me down to get past the point of no return; but spilling the blueberries is what broke me.
Usually when I have a day like this, and I finally get a quiet moment alone, I try and trace back to the “turning point” of my day. On this day, I knew the reason I felt broken. The culprit was a lack of encouragement.
Did you know that kids are rarely encouraging? I mean maybe you have children who bring you breakfast in bed accompanied by a handwritten poem as to why you are the best ever…
At my house, it’s mostly, “I need juice,” from the minute their little feet hit the floor or, “Why didn’t you wash my princess shirt? I don’t want to wear polka-dots!”
“You never let me do what I want to do!”
Not exactly do my sweet little ones score high on the words of affirmation scale. And before I know it, I’m feeling beaten down and insufficient.
Our Pastor recently made a statement that struck a nerve for the mommy in me: “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself because there might not be anyone around to do it when it’s needed.”
Let’s face it if I am relying on my kids to encourage me every day, I better not hold my breath.
If I’m relying on my husband, well, he may not get the memo while he’s busy at work.
If I’m relying on a friend to pull me up out of my funk, that friend may be relying on me to provide the encouraging words.
As moms, we have to learn to encourage ourselves. We have to remember to remember, even when it’s hard. Remember what? The goodness of the God we serve.
Psalm 103 says: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” (v. 1-4)
Forget not all his benefits. That bears repeating a third time: Forget not all his benefits. The Message translation says, “Don’t forget a single blessing!”
Did you know when David wrote this Psalm, he wasn’t exactly writing it to the Lord? There are plenty of Psalms where he is praising the Lord for His goodness but in this particular passage, he is making this statement to himself. He’s reminding himself to praise the Lord and to remember the many blessings of God.
So, when I’m low on the encouragement I need, I turn to God’s words. You may find it helpful to pen down an encouraging verse and place it in a visible place so you can be reminded during the day. You may want to memorize this short verse: “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2). Be prepared to encourage yourself with scripture throughout the day. And also, remind yourself of the Lord’s benefits. He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), you are precious and loved (Isaiah 43:4), a child of the King (Romans 8:17), and no thing or no one can ever separate you from Him (Romans 8:38-39).
And then maybe the blueberry spill won’t be so tragic…
O my soul, Bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! Psalm 103:2 (MSG)
Lord Jesus, I often find it hard to remember all the ways you’ve blessed me. Remind me, God, and refresh my soul through the power of your Word. I confess in my day to day, I can feel overwhelmed and discouraged; help me in these moments to encourage myself with your truth. Amen
Author: Emily Goss