Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Praise is not just for the end

When I'm happy and things are going right in my life I am constantly smiling and singing. My heart is so light and happy I can't help but sighing happy praises and adoration of God in every breath I breathe. Throughout the Bible you read stories of God's amazing victories, of His mighty deeds to save his people in the Old and New Testaments.  Many of these stories end with praise being given to the amazing, living, all powerful God who has saved them from their enemy. This is because God is a rescuer, savior, and worrier! God does save and when He does we praise him and Thank Him! But what about when He isn't "saving" us? What about when are right in the middle of the darkness in our life?
As much as I love singing praise to God, praying to Him and laying my love before Him, I never thought it would be hard to praise Him. As of a few weeks ago all turmoil has seemed to break out. The end to my blissful love relationship with summer has come to a close. The bliss ended much before my intended due date, which is what is typical. Nothing can ever be as planned, not if God has something to teach you, which He always does! Recently added responsibilities, incidences relating to a huge issue in my life right now has ended up adding much stress. Not only is work back and starting, and the routine of life, but this extra issue as well, which has drained me almost completely causing me to no longer be able to to all that I was able to do. Chores, work, sleep,  and parts of life are being thrown on the back burner. There is a constant struggle with figuring out priorities and what will survive without being done. Through all this I started off handling it like I have been - Praying! And not any ordinary praying, this situation calls for 24/7 every time stress comes at me, desperate pleas to God to take this away and make it all better.
As I prayed and battled for my time with God through everything I remembered to stop and listen as well. When I did all I heard was "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice," but this didn't seem the right time to do that! I needed to pray for help! Then I stopped and listened again, "'do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving"(emphasis was heard in my head!) "let your requests be known to God." I knew I had been praying, I was really, honestly TRYING not to be anxious, but I hadn't added any thanksgiving... Then I read Psalms 26 and 27. I was reminded as I have been reading through the Psalms, even as many times as David is calling out to God to be rescued, to be helped, to be remembered, he always entwines praise throughout it all. Here I was challenged with my heart. Doesn't God deserve praise from us no matter what is going on in our lives? God is still the same God whether we are in our green pastures or walking through our valley of the shadow of death. God is not changing, only where we are and what we are dealing with is changing. So why should God deserve any less praise? If we are to praise and glorify Him why should that stop when we want Him to remove us or help get us out of a situation? It shouldn't! God deserves to continually be praised!
Working on that part of my heart has been hard. It is not natural for me, when I feel the weight of burdens becoming too much to start telling God how amazing He is instead of asking to be instantly rescued. My first words in many of my prayers start with " help" and "please." I am now working on starting my prayers with " God you are.." and praising Him for how mighty, loving, and wonderful He is. This is really hard, but it has honestly worked to bring "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding that will guard your hearts and minds. " When we praise God for who He is, it reminds us of the truth, and that truth has an effect on your heart and mind that is so troubled because you start to see, God is more and over any burden.  It helped me to write my praises out to God. I wrote a list of what I knew of God and who He was and is. Then when I start to become overwhelmed I remind myself of what I wrote, and read it, and pray those back to God.
Because praise is not just for the end of your troubles when He has rescued you, helped you, lead you through them, but is to be in every breathe that you breathe.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.