The all new episode of Balm for the Soul with Tammy Nicole Glover podcast is now available. Sit back, relax and be encouraged as Tammy reads the blog piece, “Heavy.” All new episodes are available every Monday, 12pm Eastern. https://anchor.fm/tammy-glover.
You can find the blog post for “Heavy” by clicking on the link: https://balm4thesoul.com/2020/11/11/heavy-by-tammy-nicole-glover/
For more encouragement throughout the week, you can follow Balm 4 the Soul on Facebook @Balm4theSoul, Instagram @Balm4_thesoul and Twitter @4_balm.
You can now listen to the post, “Lord, Don’t You Care,” and others on the new podcast, Balm for the Soul with Tammy Nicole Glover. All new episodes will be available every Monday, starting July 12th, 12:01pm Eastern. Sit back, relax and be encouraged with devotions that soothe the soul. Episodes available at https://anchor.fm/tammy-glover
Sit back, relax and be encouraged as you listen to devotionals that soothe the soul. Check out the my new podcast, where I will be reading some of my blog posts with a little extra encouragement. New episodes will be available every Monday starting July 12th. https://anchor.fm/tammy-glover/episodes/Balm-for-the-Soul-Season-1-Premiere-Teaser-e13usvq
It feels like the battle will never end. Attack after Attack Blow after Blow I fall down, weary. Is there anyone that can help me? Does anyone see me? I look to my right and see my comrade on the ground. Blinded by swollen eyes, they still flail their sword at the enemy. I want to help but I can’t stand, Too battered and bruised to even shout. I look to my left and see another soldier, torn to pieces. The enemy standing over them, Still bloodthirsty and lusting for their next prey, Their eyes greedily search. I silently pray they don’t see me. But they do. Snarling and growling, they stalk towards me. This is the end. My battle is finally over. I have lost. The enemy inches closer and closer. There is no need for them to rush, They know they have their prey. I close my eyes and wait to feel their teeth sink inside my flesh, Instead, I hear a voice say, “the battle is not over. Open your eyes.” I see bursts of light piercing the darkness. A multitude of angels stand before me. The enemy cringes with fear. “Pick up your sword and fight, soldier,” the voice says. I feel my strength renewed. I shall live and not die, for the Lord has seen me. He has heard my cry. I pick up my sword and shield and charge, Shouting the battle cry, JESUS IS LORD! “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:16-17 KJV
I didn’t know who they were. I had never seen their faces. I only knew they set the standards for everything. Everyone waited for their wisdom and intently listened to their voices. No one questioned them. I don’t know why. It has always been that way.
There were some who dared to rebel against them and then there were those, like me, who just wanted to fit in. If I could just be like them, I would have peace. I eventually discovered their standards were unattainable. I was never thin enough, my hair never long or straight enough, my skin never light enough. They made growing up almost unbearable. If you can’t follow what they say, you would be subject to endless ridicule.
I tried desperately to comply but always failing. In the end, feeling unworthy and unloveable. In their eyes, I was a waste of space and I believed them. There were times I looked at a bottle of pills and wished I had the courage to take them all. At least in death they would leave me alone, then I could find peace.
I would like to say this all changed when I became an adult. I didn’t magically evolve into a beautiful butterfly that took everyone’s breath away, nor did I turn into a rebel that didn’t care what anyone said or thought. I was still awkward and tried to figure out exactly what they wanted me to do. My depression continued, followed by anxiety. I was so confused and lonely. I woke up every morning, disappointed to see another day. I would ask God why did He create me if He knew I would never live up to what they wanted.
One morning, I heard His voice. He said, “why are you listening to them. They have no power. They’re not able to form a world with just the words of their mouths. They can’t command the sun, moon and stars to stay in place and shine. They can’t make the earth rotate in the palms of their hands. They can’t breathe into dust and create life. In fact, they can’t even create actual dust.
“My beloved daughter, listening to them will not only kill you physically but worst of all, it will kill you spiritually. Your soul is dying as we speak. I uniquely and intricately created you. There are gifts I have given you that no one else has. You weren’t created haphazardly but with a specific plan and purpose to fulfill. Why listen to a creation when the Creator is speaking to you? They don’t know the plans I have for you but if you trust Me, your Creator, I will eventually reveal them to you.”
His words were beautiful and soothing to my ears. I so wanted to allow them to heal my wounded heart. I wanted to trust Him but His voice was still and small, deep inside me and their voices were so loud. “How can I trust You, Lord?”
He replied, “because My words are true. I am not like a man that should lie. I have sacrificed My Son for you. Just look in My Word and you will see.”
I opened up the Bible and started to read of how He created the earth and all that is in it. I read a love story of a God and His people. There were times I was angry, times I cried and times I saw myself and felt ashamed. I took all my feelings to Him and He patiently listened. He answered questions but there were some answers I simply wasn’t ready to hear. I eventually came to the conclusion that He could be trusted and they could not.
They didn’t love me nor cared about my well-being. They would never die for me, in fact they only encouraged me to take my own life. Why am I afraid of people who don’t have a heaven or a hell to put me in? I still don’t know who they are but I’m done listening.
Heavenly Father, thank You for so wonderfully and thoughtfully creating me. Without You there is no best life, no peace and no joy. Without You there is only confusion, shame and despair. There are no words to adequately describe how grateful I am that You have opened my eyes to see the beautiful creation that is me. May my ears always be inclined to Your voice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What is man that God is mindful of him? The Maker of all the heavens and earth. The One who created man from dust and breathed into his lungs. Who am I that God would choose me? It didn’t matter how deep in sin I was in. It didn’t matter how much I pushed Him away from me, His love for me never wavered. He still chose me. Even when my voice was too weak to call out, His ear was inclined to the cries of my heart. He kept track of every tear. He felt every wound inflicted on my soul. He never looked at me with contempt, only with complete compassion. Messy, filthy and unruly, yet I was my Father’s choice. Knowing all the bad choices I would make, All the times I would turn my back on Him, He chose me to be His beloved daughter. He allowed His Only Begotten Son to bear my sins, Die on a cross and take my place in hell. More powerful than a phoenix rising from the ashes, He rose from the grave with the keys of hell Overcoming death, overcoming darkness, All for the single purpose of bringing me salvation. He has created me for a time such as this. To boldly proclaim the good news. I am not the only chosen one. He also chose you. Will you answer His call and choose Him? “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 KJV “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV
I lay in bed not wanting to face another day of adulting. The constant fight with disappointments and setbacks has left me sore and exhausted. They try to pull me back into darkness, where dreams and hopes die. The temptation to give up is so great. Complacency slithers towards me, twisting all around me. The more I fight to break free, the tighter its grip. I feel its razor teeth sink inside my flesh, releasing its venom of lies, doubt and confusion. It whispers, “it’s ok to give up,” as the venom courses through my soul, paralyzing me. Its words taste sweet in my mouth but turns bitter as it goes down.
I pull the covers from my face and sit up in bed. Where did my fire go? I used to burn with the love of God and passion for His word in my belly. The fire kept the darkness away. It fueled me with the strength to fight. Now, I only feel a few glowing embers. “Lord, I think I’m dying,” I cry out. How did this happen? Didn’t I pray, fast and read your word every day?”
After a few more minutes in full pity party mode, I sat quietly, waiting. I would like to say it was because I came to my senses, but it was really because I had tired myself out. Mercifully, the Lord answered in that quiet moment. He told me to meet Him in His word. Whenever He tells me this, I know I’m in trouble. He had grown tired of my foolishness. So, I obediently pulled out my Bible and He led me to the book of Revelations. Oh Boy!
He led me to read chapter two. In it, the Lord addresses the church of Ephesus. He starts off by telling them what they are doing that pleases Him. They knew His word, they labored to do His will and they had patience and didn’t faint. Then He goes on to tell them what displeases Him. Revelations 2:4 says, “nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (KJV)
As if this wasn’t painful enough for me to read, He directed me to jump to Revelations 3:14-22. In this section He addresses the church of the Laodiceans. He says in Revelations 3:15-16, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (KJV)
Have I really started to turn away from my first love, Jesus? Am I becoming lukewarm? No, this can’t be, I pray, read and fast. I don’t willfully sin. Then the Lord brought to my remembrance how lately I’ve been spending less and less time praying. How I’ve been rushing through His word. I even remembered one of the goals for this year was to post on the blog every week yet, it’s the end of March and I hadn’t written or posted a thing. I truly was slipping away from God and into the arms of complacency. What do I do, Lord?
God, being merciful, again led me to His word. This time to Revelations 3:19 which says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.” In Revelations 2:5, He says, “remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” (KJV)
I am so thankful God was merciful enough to chasten me. I had been slowly turning away from my first love and the works He has called me to do. My turning away was causing me to become lukewarm. I was no longer passionate and zealous for the things of God. He called me to encourage others and I was barely encouraging myself. He called me to love others and I was barely loving myself. Complacency was leading me into a selfish place.
As I look at the world I live in, I see so much pain. While I know I can’t relieve all the pain, I can do my part. Could it be the reason some don’t believe in a loving God is because those called by His name have also turned away from their first love? Has our turning away caused us to become lukewarm and to stop caring for the things God cares for, which are people?
We see people in need and don’t provide them from that which God has provided us. We see people cry out for justice and we turn a blind eye. We see oppression and remain silent. We were called to be a light in the darkness. Where is the fire?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NIV
A world deep in sin, determined to live a life a part from You. Hardened hearts full of darkness and hate, never truly recognizing the sacrifice made. Yet, You still sent Your Son, a Lamb without spot or blemish. Holy, Righteous, and Loving, perfectly mirroring His Father. A love no one could ever understand.
He should have been born inside a palace and wrapped in the finest linens. Instead, He was born in a manger and wrapped in the swaddling clothes of an animal. His life was constantly threatened. His identity called into question but His love for us never waivered. The King of kings and Lord of lords was crowned, not with gold and precious gems but with thorns that dug deep inside His flesh. Instead of a robe made from the finest silk draped about His shoulders, He was covered with bruises and stripes on His back. Unrecognizable not only to the world but to family and friend, the Prince of Peace was lifted high on a cross where He took His last breath but it wouldn’t be the end of His suffering.
He was imprisoned and tortured in a place devoid of God. A place where there is nothing but weeping and gnashing of teeth. The very place He was trying to keep His beloved friends from going. He bravely endured punishment He never deserved then triumphantly rose from the grave. Jesus, what a truly beautiful name. What an exquisitely precious gift to give to the world. Who can top the gift of eternal life?
As I sit and think about the sacrifice that was made for me, I’m at a loss for the proper response. Thank You isn’t enough and Hallelujah isn’t a high enough praise. What could I possibly give in return? The most precious thing I own is my heart. It may be bruised and scarred. There may be wounds that haven’t quite healed but it is all I have and I give it freely to my Lord and Savior. I know He is the only One who can restore and keep it safe all of my days.
Lord, Thank You for making such a sacrifice for me. May my heart always remain in a fixed position of praise to You. May I represent You in my words and actions in a way that draws people to You and not push them away. Let me love not as the world does, which is conditional but help me to love like You, unconditionally and sacrificially. My celebration of Your birth, life and resurrection is not expressed through store bought gifts, Christmas trees or twinkling lights. It’s expressed by surrendering my heart and my life to You and by sharing Your magnificent Word with the world.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3 NIV