Hiding in the Shelter of God’s Wings Until the Danger Passes

 

hiding in God

What happens when life pummels us from every side, relentlessly? When the dangers seem much larger than we can bear? We hide ourselves deep within Our Father’s embrace. We hide ourselves in the shelter of His wings.

A couple Sundays ago, my daughter was in a car wreck. She called us in tears, and the minutes seemed to tick by so slowly as my husband, her fiancé, and I drove to the crash site. Though my head told me she was fine—she’d been able to call us, after all—my heart worried. I needed to see her for myself; I needed to hold her close, if only to comfort her.

When we got there, our fear immediately turned to praise. Though she’d totaled her car, she was fine. Shaken, but fine. God had sheltered her in His wings—as she had done for her dog, who was riding with her.

Apparently, her reaction was instinctual and instant. Her brain hadn’t even fully registered what was going on, but as another car smashed into her front driver’s side, she folded her body over her dog to ensure its safety. She covered sweet Misha with herself, cushioning her in the most protective position possible.

Honestly, when I first learned this, I became frustrated. I adore her little dog, but my daughter had placed herself in danger by bending forward. But then God reminded me that she wasn’t completely exposed nor was she helpless. She also had been tucked within the protective embrace of the One bigger and stronger than her and the force of metal against metal.

That same morning, this is what I’d read, written by Israel’s second king, a man named David:

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I will look to You for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes” (Psalm 57:1, NLT).

Pause and consider the imagery presented by this verse. Picture the wingspan of an adult eagle, stretching the length of a man. Perched high in a tree and hid deep within its mother’s wings, that eaglet can rest in peace, knowing it is safe and well cared for.

Scripture demonstrates this is how God cares for us.

Perhaps you’re praying as David did so long ago, “Hide me in Your wings, Lord. Keep me safe until the danger passes.”

To which He responds, “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13, Verse imageNIV).

So what does that look like, hiding ourselves in our Savior?

First, we trust. We recognize that this is indeed our current position. We are held by God. He is our Protector and strong tower.

Second, we come away whenever we need and as often as we need to connect with Him. When we spend time with Him, He expels all that threatens to defeat us, to make us cower, with His love and truth.

Let’s talk about this! In what ways do you intentionally hide yourself in Christ when you’re anxious or afraid?

You might also enjoy:

Five Ways Fear Lies to Us

And check out Jennifer’s latest podcast episode, Overcoming Fear of Failure, HERE.

Connect with Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram and find her ministry, Wholly Loved, HERE.

Book discussion inviteMake sure to join her on Thursday evenings, starting April 23rd, for a faith-building book discussion aimed at helping us conquer our anxieties. Contact her HERE for more info! And as an added bonus, you’ll get to “meet” the author! Maria Furlough, author of Breaking the Fear Cycle, will be joining Jennifer via Zoom, which she’ll live stream to Wholly Loved Ministries private Facebook group (which you’re invited to join) on May 14th for the last week of the book discussion. How fun is that?!

AND … indie singer/songwriter will be live streaming to Wholly Loved’s private group as well, this Friday! Find out more HERE.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Risking Failure to Become All God Created You to Be

 

Eyes on God with purple background

How many opportunities have you avoided, how many dreams have you never pursued, for fear of failure? Or perhaps you embraced that new challenge but then spent countless sleepless nights fretting over what might happen or what others might think when you didn’t measure up or succeed?

The summer before our daughter’s senior year in high school, she had some big decisions to make, decisions that could literally cost her tens of thousands of dollars. She’d been working tirelessly for an academic scholarship, and through sheer grit stood a good chance of attaining it. She knew she could take an easy course load and preserve her GPA, perhaps even improve it. Or she could challenge herself by taking advanced placement math and science classes.

Back then, none of us realized she had an undiagnosed learning disability. But we did know how time consuming and difficult school was for her. She often took twice as long as other students to complete homework and taught herself, through online videos, what other students managed to learn through lecture.

So, basically, we all knew, by taking these classes, she could easily fail. Worse, her failure would cost her a regency—a full academic scholarship for all four years. To a seventeen-year-old on a reasonable allowance, that felt like a lot of money. Uncertain of what to do, she came to my husband and I for advice. To her frustration, I’m sure, we didn’t give her any, except to encourage her not to base her decision on fear. Though we understood the consequences, should she fail, and how devastated she’d be, we also knew she’d suffer more in the long run by becoming risk adverse. We didn’t want her to go through life tiptoeing forward, looking for that next drop off or dead end. We wanted her to proceed with confidence, viewing every setback and roadblock as a learning opportunity.

With a lot of tears, an unseen amount of hours, and a great deal of stress, she passed all of her classes and received that long-coveted regency. But this accomplishment, initially celebrated, soon enslaved her. Once in college, she quickly discovered all the adaptations that had carried her through high school no longer worked. Despite how hard she was trying, despite all the sleepless nights she spent studying, her grades were slipping fast.

As a result, she tried harder, acquiring shingles twice in her first two years away from home.

One day, watching her emotional angst, I looked her in the eye and said, “I kind of hope you’ll fail. I want you to see that failing isn’t the end of the world.”

I reminded her of Ephesians 2:10, which says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

She was, and is, God’s “handiwork,” His masterpiece, being molded by her loving Creator, who was shaping her in Christ toquote pulled from post with purple background do precisely what He created her to.

In other words, God had a plan for her, one He set into motion before she took her first breath. A plan He assigned knowing every challenge, set back, and momentary “failure” she’d face. She didn’t have to have it all figured out or tackle every difficulty perfectly. She wouldn’t and couldn’t. Rather, she needed to keep her eye on Christ and her heart surrendered and obedient to Him. I knew, so long as she did that, He’d take care of everything else. He would complete all that concerned her. (Ps. 138:8)

I wanted her to experience the freedom that comes when we learn to view failure differently. I knew she’d still work hard. That’s in her nature. But I wanted her to do so with joy and peace rather than stress, fear, and striving.

She did lose that scholarship, and though at first this crushed her, she recovered. She bounced back. In fact, she’ll graduate this spring with a degree that challenged her every brain cell and last ounce of grit. A degree some told her she’d never earn. And for four years, especially on those days when her learning disability seemed insurmountable, part of her wondered if all those naysayers were right.

I imagine there were many times she debated giving up, doing something easier, something safer, something with little to no risk.

She held tight to God’s promise in Ephesians 2:10 knowing He had a plan for her, was working out that plan, and would perfect all that concerned her.  

Today, less than two months before her graduation, I’m wondering …

What if she’d taken those easier classes in high school? What other “easy” and “safe” decisions would they have led to?

What if, when others tossed doubt on her resolve, she’d quit, midway through college, and opted for her second or third career choice?

But perhaps most importantly, what if the resolve and courage built with every difficult step prepared her for all the uncertainties ahead and all God has in store for her?

What if embracing risk led to her greatest growth and strength?

What if our saying yes and embracing risk does the same for us?

Let’s talk about this! Is God asking you to embrace risk for Him? If so, what? And how can you step into that today?

When has risk initiated personal growth?

If you’re following the Faith Over Fear challenge, congrats! We’ve made it to week eight! Woohoo! (Please note, I noticed I uploaded the wrong questions and notes to the wrong week. You can find all the shownotes and questions, with Bible references, HERE.)

Connect with Jennifer Slattery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, join her private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group, Logo image for Faith Over Fearlisten to the first two episodes of her Faith Over Fear podcast HERE and find her free Bible reading plan HERE.

Additional resources:

Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith is No Longer Enough by

Faith Over Fear is Now Live

Faith Over Fear podcast episode logoWe’ve been waiting, or at least, I’ve been waiting. Salem Web Communications has released the first two episodes of my Faith Over Fear podcast. God showed up so much in my life as I worked through this podcast series, and He’s created a beautiful movement of freedom. As I researched each topic, He sparked such a passion in my heart to share all He was teaching me. As I spoke with guests and contemplated my own story, I remembered how it felt to live enslaved. But more than that, I celebrated all the ways God’s brought me increased freedom, and I wanted to share potential freedom-gaining steps with others.

So, I launched a social media campaign and private Facebook group, and my heart has been so full. I’m seeing God work, seeing His children support and encourage one another, seeing veils drop, and seeing people take huge leaps toward freedom.

We were not created to live in fear. God’s got way too much for us to do. We’re called, commissioned and empowered to change lives. Fear hinders our calling, but it doesn’t have to, because in Christ we have everything we need to live victoriously.

Take a listen to my first episode, maybe gather some friends around you to talk to through the discussion questions, and if you believe others would find the truths discussed helpful, I’d be so very blessed if you’d share the episode with those in your circle.

Listen HERE.

Join the private FB group HERE.

 

Fighting Fear of Rejection With the Truth of Christ

crumpled paper and a notepad and pen

Writers experience a great number of rejections, and some of those can be pretty harsh. Though I know to expect these “no thank yous,” seeing them stream through my inbox can leave me stunned. If I’m not careful, I can begin to question my abilities, my calling, and really, myself. We do that, don’t we? We own every negative experience, holding each one as proof that we’re somehow insufficient or defective.

A while back, after receiving numerous declines in a row, I shared my disappointment with my daughter. “But you’ve also received a lot of acceptances,” she said. I know she meant to encourage me, and for a moment, it did, but I knew my assurance needed to go much deeper. My confidence and value can’t be based on such transient standards as blue and teal background and text from posttemporary wins and losses. To rise above my fears, I must anchor myself, immovable, in the One who knows me, loves me, sees me, goes before me, has a plan for me, and remains with and in me.

A while back, God reminded me of this truth during a rather discouraging time. For about a year, it had felt as if I’d been turned down for every opportunity I pursued, even those I felt certain had been God led. The first rejection didn’t phase me too much. The second stung, but I determined to keep moving. By the third and fourth experience, however, lies I’d thought I’d long buried began to reemerge, assaulting my weakening heart, “You’re unwanted. You’re not good enough. Insufficient.”

Those lies can be really hard to silence sometimes, can’t they? They’d long held me captive, and normally would’ve plunged me into an all-day, if not longer, gloom. But not this time. As I sat there, initially feeding all those deceptive and toxic thoughts, I sensed God’s whisper, urging me to turn to truth, my most powerful weapon against all fear, fear of rejection included. And so I did.

Bible opened to Ephesians 1, I began to read. More than that, I soaked in every word, claiming each as my own. Through that passage, God spoke so clearly, reminding me of who I was. Though I felt rejected and discarded, insufficient, the Bible promised that was far from reality. Instead, I was and am God’s holy child (v. 1), blessed with every spiritual blessing (v. 3) chosen (v. 4) loved and adopted (v. 5), redeemed and lavished in grace.

But here’s my favorite verse: “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (v. 11).

God, my Creator and redeemer, the One who promised to perfect that which concerns me (Ps. 138:8), works all things, my life included, according to His will. Therefore, when opportunities don’t arise or are denied, when others don’t appreciate my skills or my gifts, that doesn’t mean I’m insufficient or rejected. Rather, it indicates God has something else in mind. He’ll show me precisely what that something is, in His way and His timing.

Because He loves me.

What’s more, I can trust Him. I can trust His heart, His wisdom, His power, and His plan. And in the waiting, I can choose to receive the love and grace, the acceptance and equipping, He’s lavished freely upon me through His Son.

blue and gray background with text pulled from postI am far from insufficient. So are you. We are loved, redeemed, empowered, and called children of Christ destined for impact.

Additional resources:

Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Overcoming Fear of Rejection (video presentation, by Jennifer Slattery)

Learning to Shake of Rejection to Live in Freedom

When Others Rejection Us

If you struggle with fear of rejection and other fears, make sure to join Jennifer’s social media group, Faith Over Fear. You can find it HERE. You can find additional faith-building resources HERE. And keep an eye out for her Faith Over Fear podcast, releasing soon!

 

When Anxiety Tries to Win

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When I’m feeling anxious, which is often, my husband says he’s going to “sit on me.” This isn’t some idle threat, nor a threat at all. Rather, his words convey a promise to, literally and figuratively, cover me with his strength and love, though he doesn’t actually sit. Instead, he rolls over on top of me, completely enveloping me in his much bigger and stronger self. Perhaps he’s attempting to squeeze out all my angst, or maybe, not knowing what else to do, simply wants me to know he’s there, sees my inner struggle, and that he cares.

The first time he “covered me” in his love occurred around eight years ago. It had been a tough week during which God had allowed some deep, long buried hurts from my past to resurface. In the middle of this painful, fragile time, I received a phone call that left me sobbing so hard, I couldn’t catch my breath. It was as if every hurt once suppressed suddenly rose to the surface. It’s hard to describe the intensity of my emotions except to say that it literally felt as if my heart were shredding .

And in the middle of my ugly cry, as I lay in bed, tears coursing down my cheeks, my husband came to my side and immediately rolled on top of me, squishing me in the strongest, firmest, most immovable hug I’d ever experienced. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” he said over and over. Then, after maybe the tenth time, realization hit: “That’s Jesus.”

I understood, with tear-quieting clarity, that Christ was loving me through my husband in that moment. Though this experience and the understanding that followed didn’t alleviate my pain, it did make it more bearable, because I knew I wasn’t alone. Through my husband, Jesus showed me that He saw me, loved me, was with me, and would carry me through.

When my emotions and circumstances feel out of control, I love to spend time reading through the Psalms. Many of them were written by a man named David who was hunted down for years and, at one point, forced to hide in a cave. Though proven to be a courageous warrior, many of his psalms reveal he also struggled with fear. But in the midst of his most terrifying circumstances, he never lost sight of what he knew to be true: that sovereign creator God was always with him, would never leave him, and would one day turn everything to good.

When others warned him of threats, encouraging him to flee, he responded, in essence, saying, “I trust God to protect me, so why should I run.” (Psalm 11:1) Even if a thousand dangers lurked in the shadows (Ps. 11:3), David refused to Quote pulled from post
cower, because he knew God was both intimately near (in His holy temple) and reigning from heaven (Ps. 11:4), where He could see all. Though life and David’s circumstances might have felt out of control, truth told him otherwise. He knew with unshakable certainty that the all-powerful, all-knowing God was with Him, in the middle of his greatest challenge, engulfing him in love and truth.

As David Guzik from the Enduring Word puts it, “When David considers the greatness of God, the care of God, and the vision of God, it all outweighs the danger.”

When we’re anxious, may we consider and meditate on those same unchangeable truths, and may we wrap ourselves deeply, completely, in God’s loving, protective embrace. Though this may not alleviate our anxiety, it will make it more bearable as we cling to the certainty that God will carry us through.

Let’s talk about this! Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, what are some things you’ve found to help?

If you haven’t already done so, consider joining my private Faith Over Fear Facebook group where I share daily challenges designed to help all of us move from fear to faith. You can join HERE.

I also invite you to join Wholly Loved’s private group where you can share your struggles, celebrations, doubts, and prayer requests and link arms with other women learning to anchor themselves in grace. You can find us HERE.

Additional resources you might find helpful:

Breaking the Fear Cycle by Maria Furlough

When Our World Feels Out of Control

Tracing Our Fears to Their Proclamations

Faith Over Fear Bible Reading Plan

Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves by Trillia J Newbell

 

 

 

Finding God Amid Our Fear

Quote pulled from post on a water color background

Sometimes God must allow us to experience our greatest fears in order to free us from them. When it feels as if the ground beneath us will crumble to dust, we learn in a deeply personal way that “though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed” God’s unfailing love will always remain.

To put it simply, we often discover who God is in all His faithful and merciful glory, not during the tranquil periods but when we feel as if our lives have upended.

Some of you may be familiar with this story I’m about to share. I tell it often because, of all the things I’ve experienced throughout my life, this particular event led to my greatest freedom. Though at first, I felt anything but free!

At the time, I was enslaved to fear, primarily of relational loss and financial insecurity. We were living in Louisiana at the time, in a newly built, gated neighborhood and had plenty of money coming in to pay our bills and then some. My husband drove a company car, had a company pension, and managed our finances well. I had every reason to relax, but anxiety frequently won, resulting in a constant fight for control. I lived as an orphan, as if I were forced to navigate a harsh, unpredictable world all alone rather than the beloved, cherished daughter of Christ Scripture promised I was.

Had God not intervened, I’m certain I would’ve destroyed my marriage. But He did, tearing me from my highly-regulated safety plan and allowing me to land in one of my greatest fears—unemployment (my husband’s). This resulted in a three-year transitionary period where we lived off of savings for a while then moved, first to Texas then to Missouri. And with each move, God allowed falsehoods to rise to the surface so He could counter them with truth.

When I felt abandoned and unheard, He assured me He would never leave and was attentive to my every cry. When it seemed my prayers went unanswered, He reminded me that He was working out all things according to His good and loving plan, for my growth and His glory. For every fear, He gently guided me to timeless promises in Scripture, reminding me of who He was, what He’d done, and what’s yet to come. As my vision shifted off of my problems and concerns and onto my powerful, unconquerable God, my fears slowly died.

When I’m feeling frightened, I love to spend time in the psalms, which often seem to echo the cries of my heart. When it feels as if my circumstances are unjust and perhaps others have betrayed me, I know “the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from His throne” (Ps. 9:7). When I feel exposed and helpless, I know where to turn for “the Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Ps. 9:9).

“Those who know Your name,” the Psalmist says, “trust in You.”

Or to put it another way: If we truly grasp the fullness of Christ—His love, power, and attentive faithfulness toward all His children quote from post with blue and green background—we realize we have no cause for concern and every reason to trust. We can attempt to fight our fears countless ways, but nothing soothes and strengthens the heart quite like growing closer to Christ. He is the only One with the power to save. When all our attempts to control and salvage our situation fail, we discover we truly have all we need in Him. He alone stands firm, immovable, at our side, and He always will.

Let’s talk about this! What characteristics of Christ do you find most comforting when you’re afraid? How do those characteristics speak to your current fear? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments.

For those of you waiting for the Faith Over Fear Podcast, Salem’s target release date is mid to late month. I’ll keep you posted if this changes.

My correlating Bible reading plan is currently available. You can find it HERE.

Connect with Jennifer Slattery on Facebook and Instagram and contact her HERE to book her for your next women’s event.

Find her latest articles on ibelieve:

3 Commonly Quotes Bible Contradictions And How to Explain Their Truths to Agnostics

A Prayer of Hope for a Broken Home

What Would Jesus Say About the Church Today

Watch some of Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear video devotions:

Fighting Fear by Living Loved

How Anxiety Dulls Our Spiritual Hearing

 

 

Resting in God Our Rock When Our Enemies Attack

quote on staying close to God

In 2006, my husband stepped into an ugly power struggle that nearly cost him his job. In the span of a year, he’d changed employment three times, landing, precariously, at the company he’d started with, but in a different location and with a pay cut and demotion. The organization he initially quit, with zero notice. Therefore, though my husband’s former boss, through God’s grace, invited him back, Steve’s position felt shaky at best. Like he was one mistake away from unemployment.

Adding to this mess of uncertainty was the fact that my husband was coming in both equal and under the current shop director. A man accustomed to little oversight, and whom we soon discovered was behaving unethically in countless ways. He was allowing employees to “steal” time, was misreporting injuries, misusing his company credit card in outlandish and grievous ways, and gave those with influence special privileges. Worse, he pressured my husband to comply with his dishonest tactics.

Though anxious, my husband refused, knowing, however his boss responded, whatever occurred, his allegiance was to Christ and Christ alone. He made the right hard choice. The result: the truth eventually came out, his boss and numerous managers were fired and walked off the property, while my husband was promoted.

We rejoiced at God’s goodness and grace, celebrating the fact that righteousness and justice had prevailed. Soon, however, our praise turned to desperate prayers for God’s intervention and protection as evil, power-hungry men used to getting their way slandered and attacked him.

One man in particular, the union rep, determined to make it his mission to get my husband fired. Every day, he bombarded my husband with accusations and demands in an attempt to wear him down. When this didn’t work, he turned to the Chief Executive Officer telling him how “terrible” my husband was. Once sent, he printed and prominently displayed the letter he wrote, in which he’d twisted everything my husband had or hadn’t done in an effort to make him look bad.

While walking down the hallway one morning, my husband happened to see this letter, tacked on one of the union bulletin boards. He felt attacked and deeply fatigued. Not only had his continual decision to make the right hard choice not produced positive results, but it’d landed him in a mess. One that felt never-ending and in fact appeared to be gaining momentum.

With every interaction, my anxiety climbed. What if this man succeeded and Steve’s company let him go? Where would he work? How would we pay our bills? Our mortgage? What if we lost our home?

Initially, our world felt out of control. Our security only as steady, as sure, as my husband’s next paycheck. But then we remembered our sure foundation, the immovable rock upon which we stood.

Psalm 18:1-2 says, “I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliver.”quote pulled from post

This was written by ancient Israel’s second king, a mighty warrior who’d once defeated a tyrannical giant without displaying a hint of fear. But this warrior found strength not in himself and his military prowess, but instead in His sovereign, all-powerful, ever-present God. He recognized how insufficient, how vulnerable, he was apart from God, but more so, how protected, untouchable, he was when raised upon the crags of God’s love.

Towering rocks or bluffs dotted the landscape of ancient Palestine, providing places of refuge, of protection, for all who scampered upon them. These elevated geological edifices were difficult to reach and offered shelter within their caverns. Therefore, they became places of safety in times of danger.

Fortresses offered similar protection. The people built heavily-fortified cities high upon a cliff, where they could see enemies approach for miles. Then, they erected stone towers at the highest point in the city.

Can you sense the layers of protection revealed in the Psalm 18 passage? In Christ, we stand high upon an immovable rock of power and grace, further hidden within the clefts of His love. His strength is greater than anything or anyone that comes against us. We are triply protected within His steadfast embrace. He is our sure and constant deliverer, the rock beneath our feet, and the fortress surrounding us.

In 2006, as attacks continued to barrage my husband and our family, we hid ourselves deeply in God. When anxiety arose, we reminded ourselves of where our true security lay, and all we knew to be true about God. He was faithful, loving and attentive—unconquerable. He was our ever-present provider, the only One with the power to sustain us.

That year, He proved Himself to be all those things and more. I’m confident He’ll do the same for you. Whatever you’re facing, whatever is coming against you, rest in this: God’s got you. He’s standing beside you, within you, and is camped around you. He is your refuge, your rock, and your strong, fortified tower.

You don’t have to be strong or know all the answers—that secret that will somehow whisk you to safety—because in Christ, you’re already safe.

Let’s talk about this! When has God proven Himself to be your rock and your fortress? How might remembering this time help you when future problems hit?

If you’re facing a difficult, uncertain period, how might it help to shift your thoughts off your ever-changing circumstances and onto your immovable Savior?

If you currently feel under attack, make sure to keep an eye out for my upcoming Faith Over Fear podcast, releasing at the endLogo image for Faith Over Fear of this month by Salem Web Communications, my upcoming Faith Over Fear Bible reading plan, and join the Faith Over Fear challenge launching on social media on February 6th. You can find the Faith Over Fear Facebook group HERE and watch a short clip on unexpected anxiety HERE. Read the passage I reference in the video HERE.

Connect with Jennifer Slattery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.