How to Trust God when Everything’s NOT Alright

How to Trust God when Everything’s NOT Alright

Perhaps you’ve heard this old gospel song. It talks about the Bible stories of Moses, David, and Jesus, times when it looked as though all was lost. Then at the last possible moment God comes through with a miracle. The Red Sea parts. David kills Goliath with a single slingshot. Jesus is raised from the dead.

And the chorus goes:

  • I’ve got a feeling everything’s gonna be alright,
  • I’ve got a feeling everything’s gonna be alright,
  • I’ve got a feeling everything’s gonna be alright
  • Be alright, Be alright, Be alright.

Don’t you wish you were that certain?

And yet there are many times when everything is not at all alright! I’ve been there too. Perhaps you’re in that place right now, like the woman who wrote to me just days ago, worn out from living in a marriage without any affection or intimacy for more than ten years. Or the friend who had to drastically cut back on her ministry work and find her own secular job after her husband was unexpectedly laid off from his. Or the missionary who lost his wife after a long battle with cancer.

If you’re not in that place right now it’s easy to look at someone struggling and say, “Just trust God. He’ll take care of it. Think positively. It will all work out for the best.”

But what happens when your mentally ill son does take his own life? Or your house gets repossessed? Or your marriage ends? Or your church is split by scandal?

What does it mean to trust God when everything is not alright?

Continue reading...
The Key to Filling Your Empty Soul

The Key to Filling Your Empty Soul

What do you do when you feel empty inside? Do you retreat into a hole, waiting for someone to pull you out? Do you deteriorate into a TV junkie/couch potato/Facebook addict? Do you lash out at anyone and everyone who dares to enter your space, including the dog? Do you keep pressing forward, struggling with what feels like running through waist-deep water?

Busy-ness, parenting pressures, financial stress, illness, difficult people, or any of the other normal pressures of life can poke holes in your internal bucket and leave you with an empty soul. And if your internal level of reserve is already low, a larger-than-normal leak in your soul can quickly drain any remaining resilience you have. Your creativity evaporates, you don’t handle even minor stresses well, and you struggle to see anything positive in the world.

I’ve learned the warning signs that indicate I’m running on empty. I let small things really upset me, sometimes to the point of tears. I’m always embarrassed when I get to that point, but I’ve learned to see it as a warning sign that I need to get intentional about filling up.

When your stomach is empty you find something to eat. Sometimes it’s a quick snack – the healthier the better. Sometimes it’s a gourmet meal. Your body does best when you regularly eat a variety of good quality food.

But what you don’t do when you’re hungry is sit down and wait for someone else to feed you.

Continue reading...
Women In Charge!

Women In Charge!

Mother and DaughterWomen have a difficult time in this world. We always have. It’s not that men always have it easy, but as women we seem to get an especially difficult load of “stuff.”

Yes, this post is especially for women. First of all, I am one. Second, I’m an OB-Gyn physician, so the patients I see and care for are women. Men have their issues, but this is about you and me, girlfriend!

Just think of all the things we have to worry about:

  • Periods every month for up to 40 years, with their associated inconvenience and the physical and mental symptoms than come with them.
  • Pregnancy. As one of my step-daughters said, “Growing a human is hard work!”
  • No pregnancy. Infertility is not exclusively a female concern, but we certainly carry the brunt of the physical and emotional load when this becomes a problem.
  • Preventing pregnancy. Whether fair or not, decisions and use of contraception fall mostly on our shoulders.
Continue reading...
Where is that Peace on Earth?

Where is that Peace on Earth?

Church BellsI heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth goodwill to men.

Every year during the holiday season I hear from those who wish Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s didn’t exist on the calendar. It’s usually not because they thing giving thanks is wrong, or that they don’t believe in the miracle of the Christ-child being born in Bethlehem. No, it’s usually because of their own sadness, loneliness, or hurt.

Seeing others looking happy at holiday events, hearing upbeat Christmas music on the radio, being unable to escape the commercialism and decorations and images of joy – all that can make your own heart bleed if that’s not where you are right now. There are many for whom Christmas is anything but merry.

Perhaps that’s you. Perhaps the family gatherings you anticipate are certain to be filled with more conflict, anger, or trauma than joy. Or perhaps you have no family gatherings to anticipate at all. Perhaps you’re facing your first Christmas without someone you loved. Perhaps memories of Christmases past bring up feelings of fear, shame, or regret. Or perhaps the season only serves to remind you of what feels like a total lack of loving people in your life.

This year there’s much to NOT be joyful about.

Continue reading...
Doing the Next Right Thing

Doing the Next Right Thing

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Just do the next right thing.” In the midst of confusion or overwhelm, it’s a great reminder that we can’t do everything, but we can do something. And what we do makes a difference.

Knowing what the Next Right Thing is may sometimes seem difficult. So many factors are competing for space in your mind. The world – your little personal world and the world at large – is complicated. Your heart asks for more. The pile you must sort through may look something like this:

  • Your own fatigue, loneliness, anxiety, or fear
  • People you care about (spouse, children, other family, good friends) who need you
  • A sense of something bigger you are called to (fighting evil in some way – terrorism, human trafficking, poverty, environmental issues, etc.)
  • Your desire for “balance” – whatever that is
  • Personal baggage that seems to hold you back
  • Personal or family health issues
  • Others’ expectations of you (job, family, church, etc.)
  • A vague feeling of not really doing what God has called you to do

You may have written down goals at the beginning of this year that have long been forgotten, but leave you frustrated and feeling like a failure. You may feel as though you’re disappointing God or family or others. You may feel overwhelmed with the load life has thrown on you right now.

I have felt a lot of that myself in recent days.

Continue reading...