Today is a special edition of Friday Faves. I am thrilled that Regina Williams (my mentor from Atlanta) is writing today. She is in the midst of battling cancer (again) – and continues to pour into the women she mentors. I got an email the other day filled with verses to equip us when we are worried or anxious. It was so timely for me. I could personally use them – but then I began to think of my friends who needed these verses too. When we want to take away their pain – lean in to Regina’s advice and share these with someone you love. – Courtney
Verses For Those Worrying or Anxious
Jesus said, “My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27-30, NLT).
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 1:8)
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25)
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
[Jesus said] Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
[Jesus said] Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
[Jesus said] Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39).
Gratefulness in the Unknown
There are seasons in our lives where we feel everything is known – we know what we’re going to do tomorrow, we know everything’s good with our family, our job, our health.
But in reality, we all live with unknowns. The next day and even the next minute is unknown. The unknowns can create in us all kinds of emotions . . . most of them rooted in fear.
Fear can paralyze us and effect every aspect of our lives. So what should we do when we’re faced with a situation that we don’t know how it’s going to turn out?
I believe the only way we can experience His peace and even be grateful in midst of the unknown is to focus on the known.
Three things we do know; that have helped me be grateful in the unknown…
1. I believe it starts with knowing and believing the truth of God’s Word.
I really struggled with this during my teen years and twenties. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior at 9 years old and really desired to follow Him, but because none of my family were followers of Jesus, I had no one to teach me the truths of God’s Word. Oh, I read and studied my Bible during my teenage years, memorized Scripture, prayed like there was no tomorrow, but I did it because I felt if I could just do all the right things, God would intervene in my family.
My dad was an absent father, rarely home; and he eventually deserted us for another family. Before he left though, we lost our home because of his gambling debts, and we had to move out of the house I grew up in. After that, he just disappeared.
My mom, in order to fill the void in her life, started depending on alcohol to numb the pain and loneliness she felt. This was in the late sixties when alcoholism was not talked about, so I felt very alone in this with no one I could share my pain with and find support. This was something I never shared with my closest friends, because I felt it was a reflection of me.
I felt the weight of it all. My prayer all those years was, “God please change my mom, then maybe my dad will come home, and we can be a normal family.”
This created a tremendous amount of shame and feelings of abandonment in my life, not just by my parents, but ultimately by God. Because I felt if God loved me, surely He would do something.
Then one day at the age of 21, I came to the end of myself – of trying to earn God’s love in order for Him to act. A friend told me that Jesus wanted to have a personal relationship with Me. You see, I totally believed God loved the world, but that He wasn’t really involved with me personally, much less love me or care about what I was going through. If He did, wouldn’t He have put me in a stable, loving family? On that day, I remember so well, I told God “I am tired of waiting on my ‘burning bush’, for Him to prove He loved me. I was going to choose to believe He loved me because His Word said so.” So that began my journey to learning to believe the truth of God’s Word.
This was a major turning point for me – no lightening or thunder, but for once I felt the load I’d been carrying lifted. Yes, there still was a lot of pain to deal with and my circumstances had not changed, but what began at that moment changed the trajectory of my life.
It changed the way I read God’s Word. Instead of reading it as an instruction manual, I started reading it as a personal love letter from my Heavenly Father. I also began to journal what He said to me through His Word.
This has been the greatest help in my personal journey with Jesus. God never intended that we should merely get into His Word . . . but that His Word should get into us. When I read scripture, I try to have pen and paper in hand, so I can record what God is personally saying to me. This helps my mind to focus and causes the words on the page to become life and truth to my heart. Writing truths down also helps me to remember them.
So now I have over 40 years of journals of Him speaking to me personally, rooting me in His truth, basing my life on His truth and not on my circumstances or how I feel.
The Bible says Jesus is the Word and Jesus never changes; He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word says:
- He is Sovereign – nothing comes into our lives that He’s not in complete control of
- He is Faithful – He never leaves us
- He is Good
- He loves us and is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives from our birth to all the details of our lives. He knows the beginning and the end.
2. We remember His faithfulness.
God knew this would be an important step for us in the midst of unknown. He even told the Israelites in the Old Testament as they were moving into the land He had for them, they were to take twelve stones and place them as a memorial, a reminder, of what God had done for them. When they past by these memorials and their children asked about the stones, it would be a place to remind them of God’s faithfulness and all He had done for them.
My prayer journals have become my memorial, and a record of God’s faithfulness. This is been one of the most beneficial disciplines, because I’m able to record the story God is writing through my life. One thing I began to do about 20 years ago was recording all the ways God was working and answering specific prayers – I began to write those in RED. So now when I’m struggling with believing God in the present, I can look back in my journals and read all the words in Red. Just as some Bibles have Jesus words in red, my prayer journals are my “Red letter edition”. They help me to remember His faithfulness in the past, which builds my faith for the present and future. If you do not have a way of remembering God’s faithfulness in your life, I encourage you to do this.
Read here about my son and how prayer changed his life.
It’s very easy to start going down all kinds of roads that are filled with fear and doom. But God wants us to focus on what He has already done, and trust Him with what He’s yet to do. – to focus on His Faithfulness.
Cancer – 2nd time
Another time when remembering God’s faithfulness and believing in the truth of God’s word was so important was when I was going through my second occurrence with breast cancer and facing major surgery that would last 7 hours. The week before I was on the treadmill, reading scriptures I had written on 3 x 5 cards. I knew I desperately needed the truth of God’s Word to transform my mind. On one of the cards was written the verse from
Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ESV
As I was meditating on that verse, Jesus so clearly spoke to my heart and said, “Regina, you have a choice before you. You can be fearful and miss out on the grace I desire to give you, or choose to trust Me and remember My faithfulness, and experience the peace that comes only from Me. This is an obedience issue. I am with you. Choose to believe I have your best in mind.”
It was like a light went on – “Oh, so fear is just a choice. So I decided – I choose trusting Jesus!” Does that mean I never had fear in the days ahead? No, but I chose God’s faithfulness over my fears. I can do what He said in
Psalms 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”
God never said we would fear, but He did tell us what to do when it comes. His grace provides everything we need to walk the path set before us.
3. We can know all the pain and hardship we walk through is for our good and for His glory.
For our good:
James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- God intends for our trials build strength, character, and endurance in our lives.
- I have found in the darkest of days is when we encounter Jesus the brightest, and our relationship with Him grows deeper.
For His glory:
God uses our story as a platform to share Jesus with others. No one can speak better into a life that is going through pain and suffering than someone who’s been there. God has used every trial I’ve been through –
– whether it was healing the anger I had toward my mom that had rooted deep in my heart, and enabling me to love and serve her with the joyful outcome of her becoming a follower of Jesus,
– to walking through 8 painful years of having a prodigal son,
– to now walking through my third occurrence of breast cancer. The first two occurrences we were able to cut it out. Now it has spread and only Jesus can bring healing.
God has given me the privilege over the last 25 years to invest in younger women, now they’re watching me as I walk through this, truly not knowing how this is going to turn out. We’re choosing to believe that Jesus is fighting this battle and with Him, all things are possible!
This is a often quoted verse, but if we can’t believe it in the darkest of days, we’ll loose hope.
Romans 8:28-29 – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” NLT
God wastes nothing in our lives if we’ll surrender it to Him. These verses say He desires to use everything that comes into our life to transform us into the image of His Son. As a result our lives become a sweet aroma of the fragrance of Jesus to others and ultimately to Him. God is glorified through us.
Would I have chosen the story God is writing in my life? To be honest, I would have changed a few chapters and I suspect you might say the same thing about your own life. But we don’t see the whole picture, only God does. So we all need to choose to believe God loves us, He is faithful to walk with us through every unknown, and has His best in store for us. . . and that He’s writing an incredible story in our lives.
Remember, all our unknowns in this life are totally known by our Heavenly Father. He knows the beginning from the end. Therefore, we can be grateful in the midst of them.
ALL PHOTOS are by the beautiful Paige Knudsen
Will you all join me in prayer for my precious friend and mentor Regina? And the best thing you could do to honor her – is share these verses with someone facing unknowns. Connect with Regina and learn how to become a mentor.