What to do when you don’t feel His Love (Part 3)

I started this series quite a while back…read Remain in My Love and then part two Nothing Can Separate

Alright then..so what do I DO when I can’t feel His Love??

I’m so glad you asked!!

 

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

He loves you just that much!

Like I said in the other posts, feelings can be very powerful. Sometimes, your feelings can your body’s warning system that something is wrong, or your feelings trigger some unresolved issues. Left unchecked, your emotions can drag you down into a pit where it seems nothing will ever get better. That’s where your feelings can leaving you assuming God is no where around.

Here are a few ideas when you feel like you are separated from God’s love:

-Check your physical well-being: It may be simple but it’s true. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Exhausted? That time of the month? Our physical condition has a major impact on how we react to situations and how our feelings can flare up. I’ve had to learn this through the years to think about what’s going on with me physically when I’m feeling angry or irritable. Let’s just say I’ve had a few instances of me being hangry (hungry + angry) and it turning into “Look out! Mom has gone def-con 5!” Or I’d be annoyed at the entire world and would have to stop and think “What time of the month is it?”.

-Check what’s playing on your mental play-list: Do you get a mental soundtrack playing in your head of all the negative things about you? “You’re fat. You’re worthless. You’ll never be good enough. You messed up again.”  That’s the enemy taking your tried and true weaknesses and throwing them in your face. If you’re not careful, then you agree with him. “Yep, God could never love me, I’ve messed up again.”

-Bring your feelings before God: God created us to feel emotions. Left unchecked and unsupervised, those emotions can wreak havoc like a bunch of Gremlins fed after midnight!! HA! Remember that movie!! On the other hand, emotions carefully processed and kept in the proper order can be an amazing tool to bring revelation, maturity, and healing into your life as a Christ-follower. Bring your feelings before God. Talk with Him honestly about what you are feeling and why. Ask for wisdom and revelation. When experiences from your past,or hurts, or fears come to mind, ask God for healing or forgiveness as needed to resolve the situation. Ask for strength and the ability to extend love and forgiveness to the ones who caused pain. No, this isn’t easy. It’s a process that may take a while. That’s ok. Journaling, coloring, exercising…these activities can help you through the process.

Combat your feelings with the Truth: Here’s where Scripture is really important when you feel like God doesn’t love you. That’s why the Romans 8 passage is so amazing. No matter the circumstance around you or the evil oppressing you making you feel angry, sad, worthless, or fearful. None of it has the power to separate you from His Love! No matter how you feel, His Love for you doesn’t change. Feelings may change. Circumstances may change. But His Love doesn’t change! It takes an act of the will to say, “Even though I’m feeling ______, God’s Word says nothing can separate me from His Love”.  Pray the verses. Memorize the verses. Ask God to help you believe the verses. This practice will take discipline, but it’s worth it.

-It’s OK to get some help: Many of us didn’t develop the emotional skills needed to combat life’s hardship. Many more have experienced such trauma, we carry significant emotional damage. Sometimes, we need more help that just prayer and journaling. We need a trained professional to help unpack the pain and teach the skills we lack to process and mature. If you need a counselor or psychologist, there is no shame in it. It’s a very brave thing to pursue. If nothing else, a trusted, wise friend is a must!!!

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More than anything else, I pray you grasp that His Love for you is as high as the heavens. Nothing in all of creation can tear you apart from His Great Love. Nothing can transform you like His Love. If you are struggling with accepting it, believing it, or living it, I pray you’ll experience a revelation of His Love.

~Amy

 

Remain in My Love

No matter where you come from or what kind of raisin’ you’ve had or what kind of life you’ve lived. …No matter if you’re in a season of lean or a season of plenty. No matter if you’ve really messed it up big or done everything “right”…No matter your color, size or zip code..

We are ALL looking for the same thing: Love

Even though we are all looking for the same thing, there’s a zillion different ways we go about it. We go “looking for love all the wrong places”……sounds like an old country song, right? It is….I grew up listening to 80’s country. Johnny Lee, 1980. Sure, it’s a great ballad cliche, but it’s true. We search for love in relationships, stuff, careers, etc, etc…….

But there’s only One way to get the love we are all searching for…..Remain in My Love.

Jesus said in John 15:9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” Our joy is complete, like it says in the next couple of verses, by being filled to overflowing of His Love (verse 11). Abiding in and soaking in His Presence. Having a revelation of how much He really cares for you.

Remaining in His Love is like being grafted into a vine where the source of nourishment never runs out. That’s why He says “I am the vine and you are the branches” in that same chapter. Remaining in His Love is like being a well where the water never runs out or a waterfall that never ends. That’s why He says “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart” Mark 7:38

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For all our searching and feeble attempts at being loved whether it’s through a relationship, food, drugs, possessions, job status, etc…the list goes on, there is nothing that satisfies more than the love of Christ. Nothing can compare to the security and safety of His Love.

So, no matter which side of the tracks you’ve been or where you are going, do you know how much He Loves you? Have you experienced a revelation of God’s Love?

But what if you don’t feel like He loves you??

Next time…….Part 2 Nothing Can Separate

~Amy

Chocolate

Let’s all pause for a moment and reflect………….

Aaaahhhhhhh……………………………………….

Anybody who knows me more than a few minutes knows that I am a Gen.u.ine. Choco-haulic. Yes, I admit it. I need therapy.

The honest truth is that once when I was little girl I kept begging and begging to eat the Reese’s cups, and mom decided to “cure” me by letting me eat all I wanted until I got sick. Yep, I ate all I wanted. And Yep, I got sick as a dog. It’s been a down hill addiction ever since.

This chocolate love-affair has also brought with it the whoas of battling the scale, but that is another story for another day. Let us, for now, just think about the chocolate…..

Used to, I’d eat anything that was called ‘chocolate’. Sure- some were better than others, but I didn’t care. I HAD to have it. Literally, it would call my  name. But then as I grew older and wiser and my tastes matured, I experienced a whole new level of bliss. My taste buds and my heart discovered the likes of Lindt, Godiva, and…..Ghirardelli<3<3<3

No longer did that cheap stuff from the Dollar Store satisfy. And even that common, household  chocolate pales in comparison to the richness of those mentioned above only pure enough to be called…..Chocolate.

Even so, it dawns on me this is exactly how it is with my relationship with God. I have spent so much time and energy feeding myself with sub-par substitutes…..tv, magazines, facebook, food. I’m looking to nourish myself, relax and unwind. Sure, it feels good at the moment but vegging out on junk for the mind and the spirit leave me sluggish and tired and not really rested and nourished.

But, during those times I put down the remote, close the laptop, and clear out artificial flavors, colors and additives, I find God waiting for me. When I feast on His Word and soak in His Presence, there is nothing on this earth more satisfying. Nothing.

His Word is bread. His Spirit is water. His Presence is……..Chocolate!

What is it that you feed yourself? Is it the fake, mind-numbing diet of the world? Or, is it the richness and creaminess of God?

 Taste and see that the Lord is Good Psalm 34:8

How have you discovered to be satisfied by God?

Happy Valentine’s Day

~Amy

Ps…I might need to consider what to give up for Lent, but that is another story for another day:)

Fall in Love

I don’t blog about marriage. Although I have learned a lot about marriage and about being a wife, I don’t share much about it at WoW.

I don’t write about parenting. Oh boy….I have learned SO MUCH about myself through parenting and trying to be a better mom. Sure, I could share some tips and ideas and what I’ve had to do to survive being a mother of triplets. But, I don’t do that here.

I love baking and recipes. I am a total Foodie. I read other bloggers who do such a fine job blending the everyday with the sacred, but I don’t really feel called to bring that to this page.

Decorating? DYI projects? Photography? I’m just not the typical ‘mommy-blogger’, I guess

What then?

One of my deepest desires through Women of the Way is to bring hope, encouragement and guidance to you, my sister. To tell you, and hopefully, inspire you in becoming a more passionate, devoted follower of Christ. Why?

Because when you know that Jesus loves you, and you allow His love to sink down deep into your heart, and your relationship with Him is your primary source for all that you need, then everything else falls into place. Everything.

As women, when our relationship with Him is our sole security and the foundation of our lives, then we’ll be better women. As a result, we’ll have stronger families. Then, stronger families will lead to stronger churches. And, stronger churches will lead to the Kingdom of God being advanced!

We have that kind of influence.

We are that significant.

He longs to know us that deeply and use us in that way!

Do you long to know Him that deeply?

I truly believe if we begin to grasp how deep, how long, and how high the Father’s Love for us really is….I don’t mean ‘oh, church was nice’ or ‘I enjoy the music’ or ‘I find community there’….I mean ‘I feel so loved by God that I don’t need to look for a man or eat or have lots of friends to feel loved’, then His love can bring completewholeness in the deepest, most needful places of our hearts.

If you fall more in love with Him, just watch and see how it affects all the other ares of your life.  This song by Jars of Clay inspires me to fall more in love with Him.

~Amy

 

My Journey through Lent

At the beginning of the new year 2014, I didn’t make any resolutions. I decided instead to set some priorities and commit myself to living in balance. Nope, No resolutions here.

I did, however, ask a question. Father, what areas of my life need to be radically changed by Your Love.

Fast forward to now. Lent (for those who are non-liturgical) is the 40 day period which begins after Mardi Gras on Ash Wednesday and ends on Palm Sunday. It is a time of reflection and penitence to prepare one’s heart for the celebration of the Resurrection.

Lent, for me, began with a fast on Ash Wednesday.  A day devoted to Scripture and prayer that helped me to focus my heart by examining my spiritual walk. Where am I with Christ? What are the areas of my life that need to be pruned, readjusted, or realigned? Each Wednesday I attempted to focus on fasting (not always successfully) and prayer, and as each week passed, another layer would be tenderly exposed to the Refiner’s Fire:

My journey into Lent revealed, I believe, some interesting answers.

My Desires.

My Surrender.

My Attention.

Desires- There are lots of things I do. Lots of things I feel called to do. Yes, they are good things. Family. Church. Music. Work. Many of these things I have a passion to do. They motivate and excite me. When I get the opportunity to pursue my desires, I feel like I am fulfilling the purpose for which I was made. I am being what I was made to be. This is a good thing. This is a God thing.  If I’m not careful, though, I could let I have let the pursuit of my desires drive me to achieve, to accomplish or to strive. Then, I would fall prey to thinking I have to achieve or accomplish in order to be accepted.  But the truth that God so gently revealed to me is that those God-given desires are meant to draw me to Him. Pursuit of those dreams apart from Him will only serve to push me toward goals that will never truly satisfy. While recognizing, though, that these desires are meant to be the vehicle that drives me to knowing and serving Him more completely, I understand better that the end goal is knowing Him and the glorious benefit is that He uses my desires in the process!!

Surrender- As good as my life is, there are still things I worry about. There are things I wish I could change. There are things I stamp my foot and whine and wish were going my way. And, then there are things in the depths of my heart I have a longing for God to make right, and I keep wondering when that will happen. When those worries, frustrations, and pains sometime bubble up to the surface, I get mad and agitated when the situations are not fixed right when I want them to be. Sometimes, I even begin to doubt if God can really change them at all.  Sure….most of us know the song…”I surrender all, I surrender all”. And we know in our heads we are to surrender ourselves to Him, and we say we do with our mouths, and then we go right on worrying as best we can. But, I was reminded during this Lenten journey to surrender. The circumstances and people in which I wish to see change need to be surrendered to Him. This doesn’t mean I stop being concerned. Rather, this means I continue praying as best I can and keep surrendering (often again and again) so that it gets ME out of the way so God can work the situation according to His plan!

Attention- I’m still a little raw and tender about this one. I am a pleaser. I want people to like me. I confess I even want people to like me more than others. I want people to like what I do. And yes, I confess I want people to like what I do more than others. Needing this attention comes in the form of desiring acceptance, affirmation, approval and the like. Oh, I know…it’s human nature to want such reassurances from others, and it’s not entirely bad to desire this. However, at the core of this attention seeking is insecurity. Down in the depths of my spirit, what I am really desiring is to be recognized by Him, the true Lover of my Soul. I realize I’ve had these longstanding insecurities, and they were so common to me I didn’t think much about it. But the Father lovingly points out when I am asking those attention seeking questions (Does she like what I do? Does my one-and-only-fella like the way I look? Do they think I did a good job? etc, etc, etc), I need to allow those questions to drive me to seek Him and allow His Word and His promises and His presence to fill me with His love.

Yes, His Love.

His unending, saturating, completing Love is the only thing that can be the fulfilling of my desire, the calming to my surrender, and the satisfying of my attention.

Now, a new practice needs to begin. I must retrain my thinking when these well-worn habits rise up to release this prayer:

Father, Use my desires to help me seek you more, help me surrender my worries to trust You more, reveal my need to be liked the best to find You already like me the best! Amen

What areas of your life need to be radically changed by God’s Love?

~Amy

Dear Enemy….

Dear Enemy…….

I know you are doing your best to weigh me down. I know you love to see me worried, frustrated, and bothered. You love to see me tired, overwhelmed, and empty. Ready to throw in the towel. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Yes, when I get knocked back and stunned by people who criticize and talk about me, I know you take such delight. You watch while others, who should know better, leave me speechless with their words and actions while you sit back and quietly cheer them on. You whisper in their ears to take the jab, the sucker-punch, or the stab in the back.

Yes, I know…really, its you.

You love to dish out as much sickness, pain, and depression as possible stealing abundance and joy at every turn.  So many around are enduring such difficult tragedy and grieving such loss while you are trying your best to make them forget. To make me forget.

But I won’t forget.

In fact, I am learning it a little more each day. I am learning just how much God loves me.

Are you nervous? You should be.

See, I am learning that no matter what you throw at me, it can’t change the fact that I am deeply loved. At one time just knowing that God loved me to save me from my sin was enough. But now, I’m beginning to realize it’s even more than that. It’s growing in me like the dawn growing brighter into a new day. It’s growing in me like a tiny ember fanning into a wild flame. He loves me!!

I may be hard-pressed but you can’t crush me.

I may be perplexed but you can’t make me despair.

I may be persecuted but you can’t make Him abandon me.

I may be struck down but you can’t destroy me.

Because at the end of the day no matter what you’ve done to me, His Love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out on me. And, I can face anything because His Love guards my heart and gives me the strength to keep going.

So, I will keep turning the other cheek. I will keep forgiving. I will keep standing up for what is right. I will keep loving others.  He will keep pouring into me and I will keep pouring it out on others and Love will come full circle. I will love Him more each day until every fiber of my being is completely consumed by Him.

He loves me. And, there’s not a thing you can do about it.

~Amy

Love Comes Full Circle

I am in constant search for God’s love.

It has been…and continues to be…a lifelong search.

Yes, God has been showing me and teaching me about His love layer by layer, revealing who He is and how much I need Him.

“For God so loved the world…”

“Jesus loves me this I know…..”

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us……”

I have learned that Jesus loves me enough to die for me, that He loves me enough to secure my place with Him in eternity. Thanks be to God!

Pressing in further and digging in deeper though, God continues to reveal how His love just doesn’t save me. I’m learning that His love can change what I believe about myself. I can fail but He still loves me. I can turn the other cheek because He still loves me. I am beautiful because He. loves. me. Every misplaced, thirsty desire for attention, recognition, intimacy….or even chocolate, is a deep soul longing that only can be satisfied by God’s eternal love. I truly believe that so many of our “issues” can be restored or resolved if we allow His love to meet our needs.

This brings me to the question I asked at the beginning of 2014:

“God, in what areas of my life can be changed, truly changed, by Your Love and how can that really happen in an everyday-practical-way?”

One of the answers came to me from 1 John 4:11- Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Of course, I have heard this message of loving others. Of course, I know “love your neighbor as yourself.” But when this verse flashed across the screen during the sermon a couple of weeks ago, a light clicked. To the degree that God has loved me is the strength, intensity, and duration that I should love others.

We spend so much time searching for God’s love for ourselves, getting our own needs met, and figuring out how God can help me. But how much, in comparison, do we spend loving others? Do we love others like God loves us? I don’t mean your BFF or your mom or husband or friends. Do you love the widow, the smelly kid or the mean girls? To the degree that God loves you when you are grumpy, depressed, or hurting is that how you are attempting to love others?

Could it be that the fullest expression of God’s love in our lives is only realized when we pour out on others what’s been given to us? Like a plant drawing nourishment from the soil, it must not hoard the water in its stem, but rather it’s converted into energy and produces a flower or fruit to be shared with others.

Could it be that while we are in the center of our own storm praying for God’s sustaining love to carry us through, we find His strength and courage more tangible while reaching out to others in their need? Because like the widow who kept pouring out the last drops of oil until every pot in the house was full (2 Kings 4:1-7), how much more will God continue to fill us with His love as we pour what we have into someone else’s jar?

Love comes full circle when we receive it and then give it away only to receive more and more in return. The supply never runs dry.

Like Beth Moore said in a message “You are greatly blessed to bless!”

While you are in the midst of God’s love transforming you, how can you lavish that love on someone else in order to make the cycle complete?

~Amy