There’s pain in my chest tonight. I first called it stress. Then I called it hurt. Then disappointment. Then discouragement.
Then, I realized it’s all of those things–the things a mother feels for her child, only a little deeper. Perhaps a lot deeper. It’s an ache that acts as a buffer, absorbing the weight of discouragement, hurt, and stress you hold so your child doesn’t feel all of it.
Tonight’s it’s there in triple form. Discouragement is the distraction today–distracting me from the truth that God’s bigger than what you feel, He has a plan you can’t quite see, and He’s the Joy the enemy is trying to rob.
As I laid in my bed with the weight so heavy, I wondered how much more pain the Father felt when He saw His Son on the cross. The stress, the hurt, disappointment, and discouragement. Yet God had to turn His face away from the cries of His Son,
Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
It was the weight of my sin, and yours, that crushed his soul and killed Him.
How do you handle discouragement?
How do you, whether a mom, spouse, or caregiver, handle the pain and discouragement you carry for others? While my chest is still heavy with burdens, here are a few things God’s teaching me.
1. People will fail you, but God never will. This is a principle in my Word of Life Cards, and one I ironically taught last weekend at a retreat. But it’s true. When people disappoint you, hold onto the truth that God will not–He is bigger than disappointment and will work things according to His will and His plan as we put our trust in Him, instead of human outcomes.
2. As a mom or caregiver, you need to take care of yourself so you can fulfill your role in the situation. Remember Job? He had three friends who sat and fed the discouragement and pain. As a parent or caregiver to someone in a stressful or discouraging time, you need an outlet so your stress, hurt, or discouragement doesn’t get the best of you. The person you’re caring for needs encouragement. Take care of your stress, so you can encourage them.
3. Have at least one person you trust to whom you can talk to or pray with. Remember when Moses was weary? He had two people holding up his arms while the battle was raging below him (read Exodus 17:11-13). You, too, need people to hold you up in prayer or to encourage you, or to give you perspective. This week, my writer’s group was a great encouragement for something in which I needed to just say, “it hurts.” They gave me perspectives which validated and brought clarity to a situation. Another friend is a prayer warrior by only receiving a text.
4. Prayer and Praise is most important. When discouragement overwhelms you, pray not only for the situation, but praise God for what He sees that you don’t. Philippians 4:8 is a great verse to saturated your mind. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things.
That was my snot-nosed prayer time this week in the photo. I was able to focus and have a lighter burden afterwards–for about three days until the enemy struck again, and I had to go back on my knees.
5. Pray with the person whose burdens you’re carrying. This, perhaps is most important. When you pray with someone for their burdens, it strengthens your faith–believing what you cannot see. It strengthens both of you, and puts into motion the most powerful encouragement possible–faith that Jesus hears and answers your prayers (1 John 5:14). Also, pray Philippians 4:6-7 with the person, declaring that as you bring your burdens before God, His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Are you carrying burdens? Don’t go it alone. Reach out. Pour it out. Then, live it out–live out the redeeming Hope of Jesus Christ and what He is doing and will do in the situation. Let His Word speak truth to you. Pray. Then walk in faith.
Where are you discouraged? How can we pray for you?