Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

This is an oldie, but a goodie. I posted this Time Out at least a year or more ago. Today, members of our own little group are going through various seasons in life. This is a good reminder of how to walk alongside each other. Please take a moment to read this and pray for each other.

This verse is in the same chapter that talks about the church being the body of Christ. We are not meant to do life alone. It's our responsibility to make sure other members of the body don't either. When others are weighed down with tragedy, we are called to mourn with them. Likewise, when they are rejoicing about something fantastic, we should be elated with them. The temptation during mourning is to try to get people to "get over" the hard seasons in life; or even to to cheer them up in the midst of their grief. Yes, healing needs to come, and it will, but people need someone to walk alongside them in the process. It is not a bad thing to feel pain and sadness. They are a part of a healing process sometimes. The temptation during other's rejoicing is to be jealous. Why is that person getting what they want, but I'm not?? God has a specific path for each of us that looks different than everyone else's. We may just not be to that chapter in our life yet. In the mean time, we can praise God for their joy, knowing that they will do the same when our time comes.

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• This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

• What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31

Dear reader, you are now entering my mind. Strap in, it's gonna be great. 🤯😉 I have struggled with fear since a very young age, but it really surfaced in my late teens and early 20's. My secret weapon? Turns out it was so secret I didn't know how to use it for a stretch, my relationship with my God. See, unlike someone who does not believe in God, a believer has a deep assurance, no matter the anxiety, that God is on their side. At least, when you're perspective of Him is correct. Although I may still battle anxiety on the daily, I have overcome a lot. It has taken a great deal of support from friends, family, and counseling. Friend, if you feel like you'll never rise above the petrifying chains of fear, I'm here to tell you, you can. Get to know God. I cannot stress that enough. Knowing that the God of the universe is on your side, is life changing. Seek God, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Also, don't be discouraged by failure. Sometimes faith takes practice. Below are 3 milestones in my journey to conquering fear. They may seem silly, but overcoming each of these has given me the courage to overcome others in the future.

• I used to be uneasy about driving anywhere past the Harbor when I first got my license. I have since driven in Florida, California, all over Washington, and across the U.S. to South Dakota.

• I used to be afraid of water. Okay, I still kind of am.. BUT I floated the river with my husband's family.. and didn't die! It was actually enjoyable and I'd do it again. I even want to trying kayaking someday.

• My most recent accomplishment is riding roller coasters at Silverwood. Something I could not do 3 years earlier at Disney World.

I am not a professional counselor, but I am a text, email, or phone call away. Don't give up, rely on the Father who loves you so much, and just do life to the fullest.

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He only is my rock and my salvation,

My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

Psalm 62:6

What is a stronghold? A stronghold is a fortress. A place where entire cities or armies in ancient times could go to defend themselves from an attack. They could be castles or carved into mountains for example. If you look up "examples of fortresses in battle," you can see both ancient and modern day types of fortresses.

The bible talks about fortresses, or strongholds, often. David says multiple times that God is his stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10 speaks about them in our minds- "We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT." Strongholds are a place of safety, defense, and familiarity.

Where is your stronghold? When life goes crazy and you're afraid, where do you go? Pastor Ray preached a sermon a long time ago about this topic. He said if you turn to anything before God in times of trouble, you have the wrong stronghold in place. This can be idolatry if we are elevating anything above God. I say we because I definitely have a few unhealthy places I run to in times of danger or stress. Examples can be TV, social media, alcohol, drugs, food, and even people. I'm not saying you can't ask for help from others. God wouldn't have made us social creatures if that were the case. However, it is wise to make sure that your go-to people will listen, pray, and point you to God. It's not that we are terrible, horrible people if we don't think of God first. It takes practice and a renewing of the mind to make it automatic. He is the only faithful and sure part of our life. To put our confidence 100% in anything else is foolish. Everything and everyone will fail us. (Ask me about my attempt to make gluten free cinnamon rolls. Food definently isnt a reliable stronghold.🤦‍♀️) I digress.. Unlike eating tasty food, or zoning out in front of a movie, God gives us the comfort and wisdom we need to confront the issue and gain victory.

How do we practically "run to God our stronghold?" By remembering who He is. This is why reading your bible is so important! Find those verses that speak about who God is. Read them and speak them outloud if you have to. God is the Almighty, Comforter, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conqueror of this world, Healer, Protector, Deliverer, Savior.. I could go on and on. The next time you feel overwhelmed and tempted to run into a fortress that's not God; take a breath and ask God for help. Tell Him what's going on, listen to hear His reply, and remind yourself of who He is compared to your circumstance.

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