Friday, May 20, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Celebrations and Seasons of Life

A Season of Celebrations
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.”
– Isaiah 43:2-4 (NIV)

During this time of year (springtime), there are certain joyous celebrations that are recognized and celebrated: school graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the wedding season.

Simply put, this season is traditionally recognized as a time to acknowledge and celebrate others for the work they have done to reach certain milestones in their lives. Unfortunately, as much as we are there to celebrate others for the milestones they have achieved, we may start to focus on the goals and milestones that we have not been able to achieve in our own lives.

For some people, attending and celebrating the graduations of others may evoke thoughts and emotions that stem from the reminder that they have not been able to obtain a specific certification, diploma, or degree they aspired to secure. During the days that many celebrate mothers and fathers, others find themselves in anguish as they suffer through the constant reminder that they are unable to celebrate their own parents due to frail familial relationships or the death of their parents. There are many who are forced to remember that although they desire to commit to a relationship through marriage, they have not been able to partner with another individual who loves them as they desire to reciprocate in a lifelong relationship.

No matter how we desire to join alongside others to celebrate their accomplishments, sometimes it causes us to focus on the things we were unable to attain in our own lives. Nonetheless, we should condition ourselves to focus on the things we have accomplished such as starting new jobs or reaching career milestones. Some of us have maintained healthy relationships in one capacity or another. Then there are some who have managed to have the desire to keep going despite the spirit of defeat that can sometimes feel overwhelming. No matter how easy it is to focus on what you did not do that you desired to do, remember all of the things that you were able to accomplish.

In Isaiah 43:2 (NIV), the scripture says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

If you find yourself focusing on what you have not done, remember how much you have done. When you do this, you may find that it was in those moments that God kept his hand on you. He covered you and delivered you when the season seemed to go awry. Even when our goals are not met and feel as though they are impossible, remember that God’s love for you is what gets you through that trying season and with His help, you are able to try again.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank you for continuously reminding us that even though we have not been able to do all of the things we may have set out to do, you have allowed us the time to sit, reflect, and strategize so we may try again. We know that is only with your help, love, and guidance that we will be redirected to do the things that you have assigned for us to do. We know that some of the things we aspire for may not be a part of the plan you have for us, but we also know that if we continue seeking you, you will help us pursue the goals that are made for us. We thank you, and we love you. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Erin’s devotional message reminds me of the song “When You Walk Through the Water” by Allison Durham. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more’. With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical Womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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