When It Hurts to Walk in Love By Tammy Nicole Glover

“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV

Love is a vital part of being a Christian. Walking in love is one of those things we’re taught a lot about in church. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are also commanded to do everything in love.  We forgive because God forgives us. Why, because He loves us. We give because God gives. Why, because He loves us. We have compassion for others because God has compassion for us. Why, because He loves us. Love is the currency with which everything works in the Kingdom of God. Walking in love seems like such a simple thing yet it is the most difficult things to do when we’ve been hurt. Our spirit wants to bless them and embrace them with love but our flesh wants so badly to retaliate and make the other person feel as much pain, if not more, as they have caused us.  We are constantly in a battle between our spirit and our flesh. It’s a painful battle.

We may start out walking in love with ease but as the betrayals, insults or lies increase, the more difficult our walk becomes. We may even be forced to see the person that hurt us everyday. They may constantly talk about or undermine us and hurts so much that we may want to just give up, even on God. We may think, if we could just let them have it one good time all our problems would be solved. But we don’t because it would probably get us fired or arrested. Frustration builds up and it can even become physically painful. So what should we do when it hurts to walk in love? I have five tips to share with you.

  1. Pray immediately: Prayer isn’t just asking God for things, it’s having a conversation with Him. We may be tempted to talk to our friends and that’s not necessarily bad but sometimes we go to the friend that will fire us up to respond in a way that will get us into trouble. When we pray to God we can receive the help we need to forgive, wisdom to deal with the situation and peace.
  2. Study and meditate on the Word of God: Whatever is in our hearts flows out into our lives. If we haven’t read about the love of God, that love won’t come out. We learn how to act and think by learning what God says about it, which is found in His Word. Yes, it’s great to go to church and watch ministers on TV but we need to read the Word of God for ourselves. The Word of God is our weapon against the attacks of the enemy. If we don’t study it, we have no real weapons in our arsenal.
  3. Don’t dwell on the past: Have you ever forgiven someone but find yourself later thinking about how they hurt you? You find yourself telling them off in a conversation that has only taken place in your imagination. Just me? Well, if that does happen to you, cut those thoughts off with something positive. Remind yourself that you have forgiven them and pray that they be blessed with the knowledge of God’s love for them. This requires us to pay attention to our thoughts.
  4. Surrender: This really goes along with prayer. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV says, “cast all your care on Him because He cares for you.” God doesn’t want you to carry the burden of anger and bitterness. Sometimes the only way a situation can be turned around is by God. It takes longer for Him to resolve an issue when we keep jumping in to fix it ourselves. We have to acknowledge that we don’t know what we’re doing and let Him take over.
  5. Forgive as soon as possible: In Ephesians 4:25 NIV it says, “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” The longer we hold on to our anger, the more it grows. Eventually, it will consume us mentally and physically until it takes us out completely.

You’re probably thinking, this is a lot of work. Of course it is, nothing worth having is easy. Our peace is a precious commodity and worth more than anything on earth, so guard it well. Remember God loves you. He hears the cry of His people and He is willing and able to move on our behalf. Forgiveness is hard but God would not have commanded it if He had not placed inside of us the ability to do so. He is our strength when we are weak and He is inside of us.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV

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Nothing Wasted By Tammy Nicole Glover

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

When was the last time something happened to you and you thought, what a waste of time? Did you invest your time and heart in a relationship that went sour? Maybe you went to school for one thing and then years later realized that you should really be doing something all together different. Could it even be a mistake that you made and now you’re suffering the consequences of it?

The good news is that God’s love, mercy and grace covers all of that. Nothing is ever wasted when God gets involved. God uses every disappointment, heartbreak and loss for our good. I know this can be hard to believe when we’re in the midst of a storm. God knows the end from the beginning, so nothing ever surprises Him. He’s not shocked when we make mistakes or when someone hurts us. He has plans in place for turning everything bad in our lives into something good. Isaiah 61:3 (NIV) says that God will, “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning and a garment of praise.

That setback is setting you up for a better opportunity. The heartbreak you experienced will help you comfort someone else who experiences the same loss. The skills learned for one job will eventually help you in the job you’re supposed to be in.

God can do exceedingly more than anything we can think or imagine, even if it means using the wasted things in our lives. It’s not our job to figure out how He will work it out. Our job is to trust and believe that He will. He is God Almighty, nothing is too hard for Him.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.” Psalm 30:11-12 NIV

God Is Good…Yes, All the Time By Tammy Nicole Glover

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV

Someone recently told me, quite angrily, that God may be holy but definitely not good all the time. All my efforts to explain why God is good all the time came across as condescending towards them. They thought I was dismissing their pain. I was so taken aback by their reaction that it left me questioning my purpose as a writer. The whole reason why I write is to encourage the heartbroken and those who have lost hope. I felt like I had just failed an important test. Was this really what I was called to do?

As much as I tried to shake it off and not take it personally, I just couldn’t. Writer’s block set in. It was like I had subconsciously refused to allow myself to write. The longer I went without writing the more fear, anxiety and doubt took over. Where did I miss it?

After a lot of prayer and sleepless nights, I realized that my answer to the person didn’t come from a place of sincerity or love. I was angry that someone was questioning the goodness of my God. I also felt like my character as a compassionate human being was being attacked. My answer, although polite and “churchy,” was not the answer that person needed. In a sense, I was dismissing their pain. I didn’t realize that they were speaking from a place of intense pain and in their eyes the only person that was big enough for causing that pain was God. I’m sure I came across as someone who is clueless to the pain of others with my positive and upbeat response of, “God loves you and I’m praying for you.”

What was really needed was an honest answer that would probably mean I would have to allow myself to be vulnerable and share a testimony. I don’t share a lot of my personal struggles, especially on social media. I usually try to keep a smile on my face and post words of encouragement, which is probably why people assume that I never have any problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When I say that God is good all the time, it is because I have been through something. I’m not just saying a catchy, church phrase. When I say God is good, I mean He was good when I was emotionally and physically abused. He was good when my grief was so overwhelming it felt like I couldn’t breathe. He was good when I didn’t think I would see another day and wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. He was good when I was paralyzed with fear, He was good when I was lied on, lied too and betrayed. He was good during every family drama and every moment of loneliness. In sickness or health, He is good. In lack or in plenty, He is good.

Why?

Because no matter what the situation, He never left my side. He never lied to me and promised that I would never experience hardships during my time on this earth. Life doesn’t become perfect when you accept Jesus as your Savior. In fact, He promised that I would definitely face many hardships of various kinds but He promised to never leave me. He loves me so much that He sent His One and only Son to endure unspeakable torture and death just so that I could receive His mercy and to have a relationship with Him on earth and in heaven. He has never been the cause of my pain but He has always been my solution. No matter how angry I get because I have to endure pain or I want to turn my back on Him because He isn’t answering as quickly as I want Him to, He is always faithful. He is my Healer and Restorer. No matter how hopeless my situation looks, He always gives me the victory.

The fact that no one can tell that I’ve been through the fire is because He was by my side, shielding me from the flames. I came out healed and stronger. I don’t know what you’ve been through but I know what I’ve been through. I know that God is not indifferent towards my pain. He is merciful. He is the one that created me and He doesn’t owe me anything. I’m the one that owes Him for all of the blessings He’s given me. I also know that if He did it for me, He can do it for you, if you’re willing to let Him. It may not be instantaneous and it probably won’t happen when or how you think it should but it will happen.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

Catching My Breath | Resilience In the Storm By Tammy Nicole Glover

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 NIV

This month has been filled with one betrayal and attack after another. At first, I did a great job of keeping my head up and staying in praise. I was determined to stay positive but as the blows came harder and faster, it became more difficult to catch my breath. I started to become frustrated and angry. Of course, I wanted to be angry at God. Why was this happening when I’ve been doing my best to be a light in a dark world?

Darkness was starting to get the better of me. I started to believe that I was completely unqualified to do what God called me to do, which was to encourage. I felt like I was a disappointment to God. It hurts when you know you’ve disappointed a parent but it’s devastating to feel as if you have disappointed your Heavenly Father. It was as if I could feel Him looking down from His throne, shaking His head and thinking, this is who I called to fight in my army, pitiful.

Depression started to kick in and I knew that if I allowed it to continue, it would be an extremely difficult road for me to come back from. With tears in my eyes, I called out to God and begged for strength. Quitting is not an option. I would like to say that God gently patted my head and told me to be of good cheer because He was taking away all my problems. Nope. Instead, He firmly told me to remember His Word. All things work for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). If He is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31). I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). He has chosen me and not rejected me. He will strengthen me and help me. He will uphold me with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41: 9-10). He has commanded me to be strong and courageous. I have been commanded to not be afraid or discouraged because He will be with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9).

I sat up in my bed, still sore from my wounds and blurry-eyed from my tears and said, “I will not give up! I will never stop praising the Lord! No matter how many people try to tell me God is not good, I will continue to proclaim His goodness, power and His love!”

Fully armed with God’s Word, power and army of angels, I’m getting back in the ring. I may look like a hot mess, with my black eye, missing teeth and bloody, bruised body but I promise at the end of this fight, I will be completely healed, fully restored and God will get all the glory.

Round Two, Let’s Go!

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3 NIV

 

 

Be Still By Tammy Nicole Glover

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

Being still seems like it should be such an easy thing to do but have you ever had to be perfectly still for any amount of time and all of a sudden you get an itch? You try to ignore it but the more you try, the stronger the itch gets. Just when you think you can’t take it anymore you’re finally free to move.  Sometimes, it’s like that when God tells us to be still. All of a sudden we get an itch or an urge to do something. The itch could be caused by rumors of possible layoffs, a bad prognosis from the doctor or a troubled relationship. The fear, anxiety and sheer unpleasantness of the situation feels so unbearable we feel like we have to take matters into our own hands and do something but we hear God telling us to be still and know that He is God.

Being still is definitely not for the faint of heart. It requires completely putting your trust in someone we’ve never seen. His power is so miraculous and mysterious that it’s sometimes hard to wrap our heads around the fact that He is, He can and He will. How can we be sure that a power so great truly cares for us? We know because He sacrificed His only Son for us. He not just cares for us, He loves us completely. We are His children and He takes pleasure in taking care of us. If we can just be still in His love we can see mountains move, the dead rise and chains of despair broken.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37: 7 NIV

The Beauty of Closed Doors By Tammy Nicole Glover

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

When a door is closed on an opportunity that we’ve spent a long time hoping for, the last thing we want to do is to give thanks and praise to God. We typically want to ask God why He isn’t making good on His promises to us. We feel rejected and hurt. After several closed doors, we start to feel like giving up. We start thinking that maybe our dreams just weren’t meant to come true.

Sometimes our feelings of disappointment can hinder us from seeing the blessings in front of us. When we have a dream in our heart, we can become so consumed with our own ideas of how and when things should happen. We forget that God’s plans are always bigger than what we can ever imagine. His line of sight goes far beyond ours, which allows Him to see troubles and obstacles down the road that we can’t see. He knows the pain we may experience when a door is closed may pale in comparison to the pain we would experience if He allowed us to walk through that door. A lot of those doors we wanted open would not only have set us back but could have taken us out entirely.

Another thing we tend to forget is that God’s timing never matches our own. We may think we’re ready but God knows we have more growing to do. The blessings He has in store for us usually require us to be more spiritually mature because they come with greater responsibilities and even greater battles. God’s plan is always for us to succeed. He doesn’t want to put us in a position that would cause us to fail. If we walk through some doors too soon, we may not be ready for the challenges that come along with them and we could decide to give up and walk away.

Never be ashamed of a closed door. Always give thanks to God because you know in your heart that God has your best interests in mind. If you come across a closed door, know that God has an even better door for you to walk through around the corner.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

A Reminder to My Future Self By Tammy Nicole Glover

“They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair on their heads singed, their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” Daniel 3:27 NIV

Dear Future Self,

So, another problem popped up and threatens to overcome you. Don’t panic! You’ve been through this before. It may be a different problem that looks bigger but God has not grown smaller, nor has He changed. He is still the Lord God Almighty, who has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. He is still the God who promised to supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. Don’t forget His commandment for you to be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged. He is with you. (Joshua 1:9)

My beloved future self, don’t doubt God’s love you. He has not removed His mighty hand from you. Surely, you can remember how He delivered you from the last crisis. He not only restored you but He placed you in an even better position than before. You were so blessed that you were able to help those around.

Dry your tears and be of good cheer, for Heavenly Father sees all and will answer your call. God is good, faithful and full of endless love and mercy. Now, is not the time to have a pity party. It’s time to praise God for your victory.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV