reaching for Jesus

Reaching for Jesus

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

When I was 17, my friend’s mother told me to pray to the patron saint of lost items to help me find a precious necklace I’d lost. I respected and loved her too much to question why I had to pray to some saint instead of going right to God. I knew He died because He loved me, so wouldn’t He want me to come straight to Him instead of one of His human servants?

The necklace was gone forever, never to be found.

“And give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:27).

As I grew, so did the losses. Lost jewelry escalated to lost friendships, my parent’s marriage, my first love, my best friend in a drink driving accident, and Grandpa. But it didn’t stop there.

Lost Hope

After a mysteriously complicated pregnancy, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy little girl. Within moments of giving birth, I was fighting for my life. At the age of 28, I lost the ability to have any more children.

I didn’t know how to process such a loss, but I knew I wasn’t holy enough to take it to God, so the Devil pounced on the opportunity to claim me. My life was a whirlwind of night terrors, anxiety, self-loathing, harsh criticism, and crying. A few years later, I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain disease with a prognosis of a lifetime of crippling, untreatable pain, mind-numbing medication, and eventual blindness.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8)

I remember the very moment the devil really dug his claws into me. I was in my basement, seeking refuge from the painfully bright summer sun radiating through the upstairs windows, when it occurred to me that I may never see my daughter in her wedding dress, and I’d only be able to imagine my husband’s face by youthful memories as we grew into old age together.

A Web of Lies, and a Glimmer of Truth

Something broke inside. I was convinced I was incapable, a burden to my family, a disappointment and failure in life, with nothing to look forward to but unceasing pain and increasing darkness. My life was overcome by fear, anxiety, and a debilitating panic disorder that left me unable to drive or hold a job.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” (Psa 18:6)

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psa 34:18-19)

The disease went into remission, but the fear of it’s return fed itself. One Sunday the church choir sung a song with the verse “Let your faith run free across the raging sea, and walk across the water to Me. In my desperation, I reached for Jesus.

In her desperation, she reached for Jesus… and she's so glad she did. Share on X

Reaching for Jesus

I read His Word constantly, hoarded commentaries and prayer books, and filled my phone with Bible apps. By immersing myself in His Word, I started to calm down, but I still always felt like electricity ran through my veins.

“What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15

I’d reached for Jesus, but I still hadn’t found His most precious gift to us: joining Him in prayer. Just as browsing my husband’s Facebook page doesn’t compare to his company, so it is with God. We can read and hear all about Him, but nothing compares to sharing His company in prayer.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5)

Victory in Jesus

Through prayer out loud, in my mind, or in my spirit, I defeat Satan almost every day. Yes, there is a battle every day. To win any battle, you must know your enemy and use the right weapons (Eph 6:11). I lose when I relying solely on my own tactics. I win through surrender to God’s grace in prayer. After all, Jesus already won the war.

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 19:13-14)

The real secret is that Jesus needs us to surrender to Him. We fight our little children’s battles for them, so why do we resist our Father, who wants to do the same for us? We must look and reach up, calling “Daddy!”, and let Him show us to safety.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57)

Are You Reaching for Jesus?

Sisters, I pray that you will no longer look where others tell you, but go directly to the Mighty Warrior, Comforter, and Prince of Peace. By His grace, you will find peace daily, and treasures more precious than any jewelry.

Have you ever struggled to reach for Jesus? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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    1. Hi Heather,
      Thank you so much for having me on Candidly Christian this week. I knew God wanted to use my writing skills to help other Christians just about a year ago. Seeing what He’s done in my life this past year is just incredible! To see Him use my mess to bring others back to Him has been an overwhelming display of His love for me, and for every one of us. Seeing how He works in our lives has shown me how much He absolutely loves us and He can’t wait to bless us.

  1. I have over and over failed to reach for my Savior! Most recently, I failed to allow Jesus to comfort me in my daily tasks and rhythms of Mommy-hood. I became depressed and tired with all the monotonous actions and chores. I hit rock bottom one day and fell to the floor in prayer. Why did it take me so long!?? God spoke to me… “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” Proverbs 17:22, MSG I am daily reaching for Jesus in my struggle to be joyful in my purpose. Your words are a beautiful reminder for me! <3

    1. Hi Katie,
      Thank you for your honesty. I think most of us can relate to feeling stuck in the monotony of life. I used to get unbearably crabby doing housework. Now I listen to sermons, audio bible, or Christian music while I clean. My husband saw the difference and now he brings the radio in the room as soon as I start my chores!

      The Bible says God’s Word will never fall void, and that faith comes by hearing. Since the enemy can’t stand the Word of God, he has to leave when the Word is in the house. God’s Word also says that whatever you do, do it as though it’s for Him. Maybe next time you’re cleaning up toys for the billionth time before lunch, pray something like “God, You gave me these kids, so I’m picking up their toys for You”.

      Thanks so much for your comments, Katie. I really appreciate it.

  2. THANK you for sharing! What a beautiful testimony of the power of God and the peace that truly comes from Him and His word! Excellent reminder to immerse ourselves in the Bible.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      I’m glad this was a good reminder for you. I am very passionate about telling others that true peace only comes from God. The world has a lot of great things to offer, but God really has to be the hub around which everything else revolves. It’s my pleasure to share. I’m so grateful to be a guest author for Candidly Christian this week!

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thank you for your comments. I think God is always in the process of healing all of us. I definitely have days where I’m not such an exemplary Christian woman! I think that’s why all of us are on this site: to support each other and bring our attention back where it belongs. The words from my favorite Casting Crowns song, “Just Be Held”, is an awesome reminder to focus on what God is doing in our lives.

      “If your eyes are on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still. But if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know I always have and I always will.”

  3. I love this line, ‘We can read and hear all about Him, but nothing compares to sharing His company in prayer.’ So true! Thank you for this reminder! I enjoy the bible reading and studies but prayer journaling and sitting with our Lord is the greatest experience to be closer to Him!

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I couldn’t agree with you more about journaling. I recently wrote a post about how journaling can be so helpful. I think He really speaks to our hearts as we write to Him. Thank you for that wonderful reminder, and for your comments.

  4. Thanks for sharing so candidly. I know that there are others who struggle like you have. Praise Him for the victory. Oh, I too am in Wisconsin!

    1. Hello Neighbor! Thank you for your comments. While putting yourself out there like that can be a bit intimidating, I know that a lot of people have so many of the same struggles. I can’t stand the idea of others going through what I did when I know I have the Secret Key. Jesus is Victory for everyone, if they will let Him.
      I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life, and I think it’s a beautiful state. But don’t ever expect to hear “Go Pack” come out of my mouth!

  5. Valerie- what a great post! This line got me; “By immersing myself in His Word, I started to calm down, but I still always felt like electricity ran through my veins.” I’ve been through the same thing….the electricity remained for over 5 years. Only by surrendering, giving up control and Trusting (with a big T) has my anxiety and panic left me!
    I’m from Wisconsin too 😉

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you for your feedback. I love to hear that something I wrote was meaningful for others. “Electricity” through my body is the best way I know how to describe what anxiety feels like. Five years is a long time to live feeling lit up like that. I’m sure you tried everything you could find before you found the One thing that gives true lasting peace. I love how you said that the anxiety left only by surrendering with a big T! I really struggle to explain the paradox that victory comes only through surrender. People look at me like I’m nuts. I just pray that someday my words will come back to them and they’ll get it. I’m so glad that His Word went to your heart and you are panic free. What an incredible testimony you are! I checked out your site and I absolutely love it! I’m going to Follow for sure!

  6. Beautiful post…You have gotten me choked up at this. My stories are different but with a very similar theme … anxiety, fear, all caused by the enemy who prowls around. Love your writing!!!

    1. Hi Sasha,
      Your comments made me choke up! Thank you! I’m so glad God used my post to touch you. I’m learning that people like you and me have lots and lots of company. I really think that so much of the fear, anxiety, and depression in the US is all from the same source, and this darkness thrives because society has banished the Solution to one hour in a particular building on Sunday. Please know that you at never alone, Sasha. The Power that has already defeated the enemy lives in you. Speak His Word to the enemy; remind him where he belongs and who you are: You are a child of the Almighty God! The enemy has no rites to you!

    1. Hello Alice,
      It’s neat to hear that others relate to my experience. The verse you quoted used to be just empty words chanted in church. Now I know the Truth that He is the only Way to live this Life. Thank you for your comments.

  7. things like that often make you focus on the Lord and His trust is all that will get you through. We’ve had similar “mystery illnesses” that came out of no where and rocked our world. Our Hope and Trust in Him even when we couldn’t understand is the only thing that kept us going

    1. Hello Marie,
      I appreciate your comments. I’m sorry to hear that your family has dealt with so much. It’s awesome that you know to hope and trust in Him, because He IS Hope and Trust. Health issues, especially weird ones, come with so much uncertainty. I’ve found that Jesus is the only thing that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, no matter what. I wish the best to you and your family, Marie.

  8. Wow, thank you for being so vulnerable to share this. How often do we try to fight on our own, completely forgetting that God has already won! I needed this encouragement today!

    1. Hi Allyson,
      I’m so glad that my post gave you the reminder and little pick-me-up you needed! Sites like Candidly Christian are an incredible place to get just the right kind of encouragement we all need on a regular basis. If you need reminders that Jesus already defeated the enemy, I recommend Jeremy Camp’s song “Overcome”. The volume in my car goes wide open for that song!

  9. Thanks for sharing your beautiful faith story! I love this truth “Just as browsing my husband’s Facebook page doesn’t compare to his company, so it is with God.” Wonderful reminder for all of us!

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I’m so glad you were touched by my story. Thank you so much for posting. The line that spoke you was really a pivotal moment for me. I’d been reading so many books, and listening to sermons, yet I knew something was missing. Then I realized that I was learning ABOUT God, but never spending time WITH Him.

  10. The devil does everything he can to separate us from Christ. Jesus has carried you through so many situations…so thankful you are reaching out to him.

    1. Hi Kristi,
      I appreciate your comments and support. An incredible thing about reaching for Jesus, is that after a while, you just know He’s always as close as your next breath.

  11. What an inspiring outlook and determination to cling to Truth in the face of adversity! Bless you for your candor – you have inspired me this evening!

    1. Hello Merry,
      I’m so touched by your comments and grateful that God has used my story and my post to inspire others! I’m learning now that, by clinging to Him everyday, adversity no longer paralyzes me like it used to. God’s peace is so amazing.

    1. Hi Dominika,
      Thank you so much for your comments. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share on Candidly Christian this week. I’m so grateful that God is using this post to bring people closer to Him. So often, we tend to make religion much more complicated than it needs to be. It really is as simple as just being with Him, and everything else in life just flows from there.

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