The Next Five Minutes…

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

~ Matthew 6:34

The_Next_Five_MinutesI can’t breathe. A pounding fills my ears. Taking another single step requires a momentous effort. Truth be told, I don’t know if I can do this. Life has overwhelmed me; I am drowning in a sea of heartache and worry. Just the thought of tomorrow causes panic.

As a Christian, we are reminded God is control of our tomorrows and we need worry for nothing. But what if tomorrow seems like an eternity away? It is today’s struggles overcoming our resolve to trust in the Lord and His strength. We aren’t worried about what is coming down the road. What’s standing in front of us is mean, ugly, and ready to devour.

My sweet friend, I’ve been there. In those moments I’ve cried out to the Lord, asking for His wisdom and strength. I’ve questioned my ability to conquer the challenge before me and come through to the other side. The Lord’s response was an unexpected one, “My child. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about later today. Just pray, and focus on the next five minutes.”

The Lord knows me well. He knows my desire to see the bigger picture. He understands my weakness of seeking control; my foolish belief that if I could behold what’s coming down the road, and how long the battle will rage on, I would better endure the struggle I am facing. Thus He blinds me to these things, knowing greater comfort comes in trusting Him. He asks me to trust Him in the now.

The next five minutes are all that need hold my focus. For the next five minutes I am asked to breathe, pray, and be faithful. Five minutes. Not my tomorrow; not even the hours which fill my today. Just the next five minutes. I only need to hold for the next five.

When my five minutes have passed? “Again,” the Lord reminds me. “Be faithful in the next five minutes.” Before long, five minutes have turned into an hour; which has turned into ten. The day passes, and another begins.

In those five minutes, the Lord speaks to my heart; calming my fears and reminding me of Who is in control. I cannot change my tomorrow. I cannot change what is beyond my realm of influence. But, my God can. God is not asking me to face my giants alone. He is merely asking me to be faithful, no matter where He takes me. Filled with understanding, He does not ask me to look at all my days to come, and trust. He knows my limits. He asks me to trust Him now. In the here and now. In the next five minutes. And, should the Lord decide my journey is at an end… My reward will be trusting and waking in His presence.

For five minutes I can hold. For five minutes seems so small. I need only to trust and obey.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

~ Philippians 4:6-7

Your Turn!: Are you in the midst of a struggle, how can we pray for you?

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The Nightmare Before…

Our kids usually sleep pretty well. However, on occasion, a few of our children have woken up in the middle of the night experiencing dark dreams which haunt them even when they’re awake. When the Boogie Man decides to drop in on our children, what’s a parent to do?

Recently one of my kiddos has been experiencing some pretty bad dreams. On occasion, I’ve dreamt of being chased by maniacal clowns or some such nonsense. My daughter, on the other hand, dreams of people dying or her being left alone, unwanted.

While I’m sure there are various reasons people could give for why she has these dreams, my immediate concern is helping her move on from them and getting her back to sleep. Here are a few tips we’re using to give her a good night of rest:

Prayer – Instead of waiting for her to wake up with bad dreams, we’re being proactive and praying over her before she goes to bed. We pray the Lord would protect her from bad dreams and help her get a good night of rest. This definitely helps. So far, she hasn’t had another bad dream!

Comfort – When she was waking up with bad dreams, we would make sure to comfort her and let her know we’re here. Sometimes just a quick hug is all they need.

Take a Break – Occasionally distracting them from sleep itself is the trick. We encourage them to take a restroom break, have a quick drink, and perhaps have a snack. When their body’s needs are being met, they are more likely to sleep soundly.

Talk it Out – If they really have a hard time settling in for the night, we walk through their dreams and try to better understand what is causing the problem. We reason out the visions and show them the truth. Even if they can get back to sleep without talking, we usually try talking it out the next morning. Talking it out helps them push aside the previous night and move forward.

We all experience nightmares from time to time, but it hits harder when they attack our kids. Through prayer, comfort, and good parental involvement we can help our children move past these strange visions and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Time to Chime In: Have your children ever experienced nightmares? Share what helped them get through hard nights and finally get some good sleep.

‘Fraidy Cat

I used to think that in order to be brave you needed to be free of fear. I quickly learned this was not the case. True bravery is being afraid and still rising to the occasion.

Fear is hard to deal with, even as an adult. To children, fear can often be insurmountable. Taking that first step when cold panic sets in is never easy. As parents, how do we help our children overcome their fear and move forward?

Through Prayer – Kids need prayer just as much as we adults do. When our children are facing a difficult situation, we need to demonstrate the power of prayer.

Through Discussion – Helping our children identify exactly what they are afraid of often helps them to continue on. When we know what we are afraid of, we can battle that monster and conquer the problem. This is a great time to discuss previous experiences that have already been overcome or personal examples of when you conquered a fear of your own. It would also be a good time to draw up a ‘battle plan’; explaining how our children can attack this problem/situation and finish well. Little Feet

Through Action – The first step is the hardest. We need to encourage our children to get moving. Instead of looking at the problem as a whole, think of it in baby steps. Focus on one step at a time and, before you know it, you’ll be there! If that first step is a big one or they just can’t seem to walk it by themselves, perhaps walking hand-in-hand with mom or dad might be in order. After a little initial help, our children will soon learn to move forward on their own.

Through Example – As mentioned above, in our discussions and in our life we should model how to conquer our fears. When our children see us pursue issues in times of struggle and anxiety, they too will begin to face their own fears.

Fear can paralyze both in mind and body, if we choose to allow it. But that is the key… if we allow it! Through prayer, discussion, and action we have the ability to conquer anything put before us; we only need to move forward.

Time to Chime In: What was the last fear your child needed to conquer and how did you help them overcome it?

“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1