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Give Thanks 2013: Day

Give thanks in stress

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Today's Text: Luke 10:38-42, Isaiah 55:1-3, Habakkuk 3:17-19, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 23:1-3

Text: Luke 10:38-42, Isaiah 55:1-3, Habakkuk 3:17-19, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 23:1-3

Some days I am undone by the noise of this life.

There is the constant chatter, the onslaught of internal and external voices telling us which way to turn. The squeaky wheels that never seem to get enough grease. The to-do list that looms like a giant overhead, frowning down on our best efforts. Perhaps loudest of all, there is the rattling of all life’s pieces not yet in place. We are waiting and we are rushing, all at once.

What do we do in the midst of the noise? Maybe we run faster. Maybe like Martha we buzz around from task to task, stopping for nothing and no one, not even Christ himself.

I can hear Jesus say those gentle words to me. I can hear my name in place of hers: Amanda, Amanda, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.

I hear the call, too, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah: Why do you stress yourself out like this? I have what you need and it’s free! Drink and be truly filled; eat and be deeply satisfied. Your money and toil are no good here.
This is my gift to you.

I long to speak out God’s goodness like Habakkuk the prophet: Though Murphy’s Law surrounds me, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

I want to dismantle this stress mountain brick by brick, take it apart and hold each piece up to the light. I want to remember there is good here, gifts to be given and grace to be received. I want to give thanks for the promise that He brings peace to chaos, that redemption awaits, that rest is for those who lie down at His feet like sheep.

Do you long for rest today, Sister? Do you long to quiet the noise so you can hear Him call your name?

Let us pray together and give thanks.

Lord, make us lie down in green pastures,
Lord, lead us beside still waters,
Lord, restore our souls.

For we choose rush over rest,
we choose busy over best.
We bow down to expectations and worship our lists.
Forgive us, Lord.
You are steadfast. Thank you.
You give us rest. Thank you.
You slow our step and calm our hearts and allow us to sit at your feet.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

We will praise you in the noise,
we will praise you in the stress;
for you remain unchanged,
and we are found in you.

Amen.

___________________

For an added layer of worship and study, we chose a beloved hymn for each day of our Give Thanks plan. Today, we invite you to listen to “His Eye is on the Sparrow” as we dwell on the truth of God’s word together.

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  • I so needed this tonight as I have rushed all day to accomplish as many things on my to-do list as I can just now sitting down to rest and unwind before bedtime.

    Thank you Lord for Your goodness and Your rest

  • Brittany

    I honestly just said to my friend, I know God wants my attention but I’m too busy worrying about social media and not paying enough attention to him…from here on out I am challenging myself to drop social media & things that don’t matter for the rest of this year…and as soon as I said that…I said what about Posting pics of Christmas and my sons bday…just that fast I forgot..pictures last a lifetime….I have some major issues within myself that I need to fix but I know nothing is too hard for God…be blessed everyone! Blessings!

  • My God My God what a word. Thank you Lord for the word…to know that other women go thru what I do daily.

  • LaurenC, tina-
    Praying for both of you!
    Beautiful, kind words tina…

    Perfect prayer Amanda! ♡

  • God is so good. These past few months have been completely stressful. Graduating and becoming unemployed all at the same time has been quite stressful. But I must say after reading these inspirational testimonies and scriptures along with today’s devotional, God reminded me that He is in control. Just a few hours ago I was at wits in and ready to throw in the towel but God led me to this devotional and I am truly thankful for Him interceding on my behalf. It’s time for me to turn my situation over to Him and let Him handle it as he has been doing these past few months. Ladies continue to stand strong and know that God has your back. Take a little time out and allow Him to minister to you and lead you in the direction that He wats us to go rather than us concentrating and dwelling on our to-do lists. Be blessed!!!

  • I keep coming back to read this again and again. Thank you for this.

  • Hallelujah!!!! This spoke to me directly today, thank you Lord!!!

  • This was really God's providence for me to read this today! These verses and the devo. are like a sweet drink of water for my soul! I am behind on the reading, but today this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for this wonderful truth!

  • Annetta Bosakova

    Such beautiful and soul refreshing verses!! "I will give you rest." – Matthew 11:28 How beautiful and true Gods words!

  • T Thomas

    The prayer at the end sums it all up for me. I long for rest, physically, but even in my thoughts as they are constantly racing. Slow down. Be still and know that I am God. I give my steps, concerns, and my lists to You. May I never be too busy, too distracted to to hear from You. I need peace and order in the midst of my chaos. Only You can help me balance it all. You have what I need and it’s free! Give us this day our daily bread. Thank you for your gift.

  • I love the line, "we are waiting and rushing all at once." That is where I am right now. In between. And instead of waiting patiently to see what God has for me, I am trying to rush to the next thing. I want to learn the "unforced rhythms of grace" from Matthew 11.

  • LaurenC_

    I saw the link to this post earlier today on Facebook and immediately thought I would have to skip today’s reading. I’ve been swallowed by such a massive amount of stress over the past 6 weeks, like a giant recurring tsunami that just keeps coming and coming. It has pushed me to my edge, mentally and emotionally, several times. To see the theme of today’s post – Give Thanks In Stress – I immediately thought, no. I cannot give thanks for this. I am not thankful. I did not ask for this season of my life, these circumstances, this pain, this grief, this waiting, this draining and unfulfilling job, this anguish. I don’t deserve this. I don’t want to identify with Christ’s suffering in this way. It has simply become too much. I knew today’s post would be filled with wonderful thoughts of God’s faithfulness and love in all circumstances – all – and I know that I should know that; but right now, it’s hard, man.

    Amanda’s writing usually reaches me at my core and today’s post was no different. “The rattling of all life’s pieces not yet in place” made me gasp with a burst of tears and the pain of unfortunate familiarity with that sentiment. The prayer at the end was beautiful. The scripture was beautiful, especially the verses from Habakkuk that Janee so wisely quoted yesterday. Yet, I’m still not able to conjure up a true sense of gratitude for what I’m experiencing right now. I see glimpses of light sometimes, here and there, as I ponder all that is going on in my life. I’m clinging to those flashes and hoping those are God moments, to let me know that He is, in fact, still there despite the appearance of silence from Him. Hoping those are little messages to guide me away from what is causing/contributing to so much despair in my head and heart.

    Will you friends pray for me that those glimpses of light become brighter, more persistent, more frequent? Will you pray that God will lead me out of this despair and onto a new path in 2014 that is in line with His will, His dreams for me? Thank you.

    • tina

      Lauren C. Often I read the devo early in the am, then again late at night before I go to bed, or next morning before I read the next…. your comments are usually the last I read ….. you are so so on my heart ., I feel your pain, sadness and struggles…. your name is on my list with family members…..for prayer….I wish I could give you a great BIG hug and tell you GOd is with you. That His arms are close, that He sees you, He knows your pain. He is with you….trust. I walk with you Lauran for as long as you want a sister along this journey…..you are never alone…..I pray God shows up today, not just in small flashes of light, but but a real bright moon at night style where you can,t miss it… you are Loved. You are precious. And He has his eye on you my sister. God bless you in all you do with his peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Rest in Him.
      With love and prayers. Tina.x x

      • LaurenC_

        Thank you, Tina. Thank you so very much. Your kindness is that bright moon sent from God.

  • megkwhit

    I am going to echo most of the ladies, and say that I NEEDED THIS POST!!!! This is so my heart right now, stressing out about work and knowing that I shouldn't be but being to stressed to just let go and let God! My life has been filled with stress and I was recently diagnosed with pre-hypertension and I'm only 28! Today's verses just spoke to my heart and I wept as I read them knowing that God was speaking to me. He has been speaking for weeks now, but I have been too stressed to listen. Such irony. Today I will start my sincere journey to learning to relax and to let God take care of me.

  • Wow Janee, “I have done nothing but worship my to-do list all week. Including checking off bible study, without sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him.” Ouch, what a conviction for me,
    Thank You, Lord I’m listening!!!

  • Really what I needed today. So many things going on in my life these days—all wonderful things—that I'm missing His call again. Yet another reminder that sometimes that small still voice whispering "Be still, and know that I am God" will soon become a yell if I don't slow myself down.

  • Janee White

    Well, this couldnt have come at a more perfect time. I normally do my bible study first thing in the morning, but THIS morning, I was too busy "preparing" my house instead of 'preparing' my heart. My house will be taken away from me soon – but the precious Words of Jesus will never be taken away.

    I am stunned by the fact that after reading this story a dozen times, I never noticed how Jesus tells Martha that there is only ONE thing that is necessary – to sit and listen to Him.

    Forgive me Jesus!

  • Brittany

    Reading this post really hit me hard.

    My life is so noisy right now, so stressful and it's been hard for me to hear God calling my name. Thank you, Lord.

    The song that I could think of reading this that has been on my heart a lot is Worn by Tenth Avenue North: "I'm tired. I'm worn…" "I know that you can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left."

  • How amazing is it to know God wants to give us rest. As a busy, first time mama I need all the rest I can get. But there is just something about the spiritual rest He provides that enlightens my soul. I feel weightless and at ease. He did this for me this morning around 4 am when I put baby girl back to bed. I was exhausted, but I read today’s scripture readings and was immediately flooded with peace and light. I can’t explain that feeling but it was amazing. The Lord is so good!

  • Jennifer

    Simply reading the title of today's devotion brought tears to my eyes. Such perfect timing. After an evening of silence followed by a tear filled argument with my husband this morning before he left for work, I resonate with the Habakkuk passage. I feel as if all my duties, all my toil, all my stress yields nothing. So thankful the Spirit moved me to slow down and make time for this devotional while our son naps…rather than tackling the ever expanding to do list. Time to listen to Him, feel my soon-to-be-here daughter move within me, and simply rest. Thank you, Lord.

  • Katie Shannon

    "worship my to-do lists"
    that strikes a conviction cord

    • Jennifer

      Silly tablet…I clicked the thumbs up! Anyway, right there with you. It is a convicting thought and something I do far too often.

      • Janee White

        I have done nothing but worship my to-do list all week. Including checking off bible study, without sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him.

  • Hazelmaddie

    I find it so comforting and reassuring reading about other women having the same sins and struggles as me…and finding grace, love, and peace in Jesus. Thank you everyone for your honesty. I’ve been away from these comments for a while and I have missed it.

  • “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:41-42
    "If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by." -Job 11:14-16

    Father, thank you for being my rock. Thank you for blessing me! Thank you for putting my sin and the past behind me; it is true, I can't even recognize the problems I had just a month or two ago as my own, much less the hardships I went through 2-3 years ago. YOU'VE DONE SO MUCH IN MY LIFE. I can't believe it.
    Father, thank you for putting my feet in a spacious, stable place; let your name be exalted, here. Help me, in this wonderful place, to praise and seek YOU all the more, father; I get upset about the things that are not truly relevant, and I forget the wonders you've done in my life. Help me to ALWAYS put you first; help me to seek your FACE and not always your HAND. It is so good to live in your house.
    Thank you for letting me rest, here. You are good.

  • Truth upon truth – I read this and then immediately found myself reading this in Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, ‘We have been snared in…spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him’

  • This devotional felt like it was written for me. Life stresses all around, even when they are good things( the sale of a house, preparing to move,a daughter taking finals in dental school, Thanksgiving guests coming & on & on). The 23rd Psalm really spoke to me. The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. Psalm23:1
    Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lords' house as long as I live. Amen Psalm23:6
    Praying for all our SRT sisters, have a blessed day!

  • Ok, I have to share. I had my usual quiet time with this devo this morning, curled up under my blanket with my cup of coffee, feeling at peace in the Word… very much in a Mary moment. Then I looked at the time and realized I needed to start moving to get ready for the day. The moment my feet hit the ground I was scurrying around, thinking about everything I have to accomplish today, worrying about all the details, trying to pack too many things into the time I had before I left for work. While I was in the car heading to my office, I realized I was running late and became even more anxious, trying to figure out how, exactly, that had happened, when I'd gotten up and moving in plenty of time!?! Then I realized… I had transitioned from Mary to Martha in the blink of an eye! I had to laugh out loud at myself! How quick and easy it is to slip into those behaviors that really don't do me or anyone else any good! I still have a lot I want/need to get accomplished today, but I'm going to do my best to stay in Mary-mode, trusting that everything will be fine as long as I choose to stay seated at Jesus' feet. Have a blessed day, all!

  • Thank you for all the different perspectives…there is so much going on around me. Today is one of those days where I wish I didn't have to push so hard to get it all done…but being able to push is a gift from God too. So while I rush to get ready and think of why I didn't wake up @ 5am to be ready by now, I remember to be loving and kind as I go about my hectic day…and ask our Lord to guide my way.

    God bless sisters:)
    Teri

  • Thank you and thank you and amen! I'm not sure but it seems we all have "noise and stress" encompassing our lives. Does anyone ever have their to do list all done? Being a list maker I get satisfied by crossing off things from my list then frustrated to realize I need to add something to it. The list is never done! But I forget to take pleasure or give thanks in the moments like that….for all the little things mean nothing in the BIG picture. I thank God for the noise and stress in my life for that means I need him so much more! To quiet me and give me peace. When I forget that I need just stop and listen and pray and there he is waiting to give me the thing I need most….his love and direction. Thank you Lord for all you are to me, even when I forget that!

  • Feeling encouraged and very thankful that God's word shows me how to live a stress fee day even when their are turbulent waves about me. The trials still come–but their ability to dismantle me are weakened when I rejoice in the Lord in ALL things! Another amen, I am learning and growing. Thank you Father.

    • Janee White

      I had to chuckle that one of today's scriptures was the one I shared with you yesterday. Even this morning, I woke up thinking "Even though…" which was quickly followed by "and if not…"

      God bless you sister….

      • Valanne

        Me too. I thought, "Wait a minute, did Janee read ahead? LOL

        • Janee White

          Thats why I giggled! I didnt! Its just always been one of my 'go to' scripts. I pray it continues to bless you as it has me since I found it.

  • jesusgirl71

    right now, I am in the quiet. right now, I am feeling good and peaceful. but I know, eventually, when I get to work, things will crowd in. help me to remember this then. help me, lord, to remember then that only one thing is necessary.

  • Amanda, that is a beautiful prayer. I am praying it today for myself and all of my sisters in Christ.

  • the okayest mom

    "the rattling of all life’s pieces not yet in place."
    It's amazing how jarring a little rattle can be!
    Thank you so much for this perspective this morning.

  • These last few months have been a period in my life when I can't get it all done. I've always been a Martha, but and I've worshipped my to do list, but I've found a sense of security in being able to manage all the tasks and get them done. Now it's all become too much and I bounce between panic and a feeling I've lost control , and a sense of acceptance and peace that it IS all out of my control and God is not expecting or wanting me to do everything. It is these times when I remember that relationships and loving God and focusing on the people in my life are what is valuable.

    • Sherri

      Praying for you right now. His grace is sufficient .

    • SarahJaneL

      I'm right there with you. I could have written your post. May we find the peace in God's presence and strength. May we be reminded that God is in control and accept that. And may the feelings of inadequacy and failure escape us as we realize God doesn't expect us to be perfect. It is in and through Him that we will find freedom!

  • Oh, I needed this today.
    Sometimes, I feel like I settle into this unhealthy habit of being busy and letting my whole world know about it.
    Running around acting too busy to talk, rushing to and fro, quietly rejoicing in my crazy to-do list.

    I'm learning that this isn't right — I'm worshiping a to-do list and our culture's obsession with busyness equalling importance/worth.
    Today, I'm repenting of that and asking God to give me the rhythm in my heart and life that reflects hard work for my family and the things He has called me to do with true and good rest that is found in Him. I'm ready for life-giving rest that Mary found at his feet, not mindless entertainment at the end of the day.

  • Joanne Sher

    Amanda, this exactly, precisely what I needed right now. I was worshipping my to do list not ten minutes ago. Lord, help me to slow down and listen for Your voice – and even when my body isn't slowing, let my mind, heart, and soul be in tune to You

  • Candacejo

    Love the hymns!

    He is my confidence in chaos. My contentment in confusion. My hideaway and shelter when all is wrong with the world…He makes ME right.

    He restores me in my weakness and gives grace to do His will. My God is constant and faithful!

    When I take time to be still, to listen, to be quiet in His presence, He will comfort me, strengthen and give the rest that is needed to continue on in this journey.

    Thank you for the encouragement today.

  • Startingover

    Being a single mother to a 15 yr old daughter and 7 yr old twin boys with special needs (autism and ADHD) my life is a mess! To-do lists miles long, dinners to prepare, homework to do everyday, mounds of laundry, more dr and therapy appointment than I can keep track of. And then there is my illness of endometriosis. My illness has been getting worse and it because I don't slow down. I try to get EVERYTHING done. I mean I even make my kids pancakes EVERY morning before school while trying to get dressed for work, pack lunches and get kids dressed who don't want to go to school. It's a zoo here! But today's message spoke so loud and clear! I hear The Lord saying "Kortina, slow down. Rest at My feet. Things don't have to be perfect. Just as I give peace to the birds I shall give peace to you." I give it to Him. I need not stress for it is His will that will be done. My job is to slow down and Hear him above the chaos and noise. I give it all to Him starting now!

    Thank you sisters! Reading your messages gives me encouragement in my daily walk with Him. Be blessed today!

    • Valanne

      Praying for you as you gradually shift to a Mary in a Martha world, and find the rest that you are seeking. Lord please encourage Kortina as see seeks to live according to your will.

    • Sherri

      Praying now that the peace that surpasses our understanding will be yours. Be blessed!

  • I recently got pulled over–for the second time in a couple of weeks. I am not proud of it, but I am known to have a bit of lead foot. This particular time I REALLY did think I was going the speed limit. I must have missed a sign. I wasn't focused. As I pulled away (the officer was gracious and gave me a 2nd warning) I heard God's still voice saying. "Rachel, slow down. Watch out for the signs. You don't need to rush everywhere." I knew he meant more than behind the wheel. I made the decision at that point that I wasn't going to push my speed on the road any longer. I decided I needed to be reminded everyday to "slow down" and "look for the sign" my Father was giving. Look for Him.

    Love this message today and I am very thankful for all of you A Shereadstruth. You speak God's word to me daily

  • How timely this is. Not only do I see the noise and stress of my life, but I am also in a position to that allows me to see the noise and stress in the lives of many others. I find myself clinging to The Word; digging deeper. Thank you Lord for being the Prince of Peace. Thank you for being our healer. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit that is that still small voice in the midst of the storm that reminds us that it is going to be okay; that the battle is not ours and it is already won. Thank you Lord for reminding us that we are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. Sisters, we need to be encouraged today. In the midst of the noise, we need to slip away to that quiet place so we can hear the voice of God.

  • Wow Amanda it's as if you had a video camera into my life right now. This is the exact place I am in right now with parent teacher conferences, student portfolios, hosting a Thanksgiving dinner pary that just seems to have taken on a life of it's own, dealing with conflict with colleagues, and a to do list that keeps getting longer instead of shorter. Jesus words to Martha jumped off the page at me this morning.
    'My dear Melinda you are are concerned and upset over all these details. There is only one matter worth dwelling on. It won't be taken from you!'

    I choose today to dwell in Him and be thankful in the midst of the noise. I choose to hear His voice above all the noise and clatter. I choose to lay down my desire for perfection in presentation and come to Himand let Him have The big dinner party and the conferences. May they go His way. May His will be done in those interactions and events.

    I am COMiNG to Him!

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