When you don't know how you'll make it through the day

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Scripture verse Judges 6:14 strength
The Lord turned to [Gideon] and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14 (NIV)

Some days are just hard. 

Somehow more hard days seem to fall on Mondays. 

I don’t know why this is, I don’t know if it’s because I allow myself to suspend reality over the weekend, and then struggle under the weight of life when the week starts. 

quotes about strengthOn the days when I wake up, and wonder how I’ll make it through the day, I’ve learnt to rally myself by quoting Judges 6:14, “Go with the strength you have.”

I love this verse. And I love the story behind it. 

God spoke these words to a man called Gideon. 

Gideon found himself in a pretty impossible situation. In Judges 6 you can read about how an angel came to Gideon and told him to fight the Midianites who at the time were enslaving the Israelites. 

Gideon is unsure about why God chooses him to undertake this hard task. He questions God, and he goes on to test God, but what I love is how God replies, how God tells Gideon that he won’t succeed because he is a mighty warrior, but because God goes with him.

I love that Gideon’s story recognises strength isn’t always mighty or brave or confident.

Sometimes strength is trusting that God is sending me even when I’d rather run from a situation. 

God's power is made perfect in weaknessSometimes strength is moving forward, even at a crawl. (tweet this)

Sometimes strength resides in small actions, in walking out the door, in kind words.  

Sometimes strength is believing God’s power comes into it’s own in my weakness. 

Sometimes strength is going anyway. 

Sometimes strength is doing the next small thing. (tweet this)

And sometimes doing the next small thing is all I need to do to see God’s strength come into its own in my weakness.

Ponder: What does strength mean to you? Have you experienced God giving you strength in your weakness?

Pray: Jesus, give me strength in my weakness. 

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One way I experience God's grace

11:10 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

bible verses on grace psalm 69:16
Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Psalm 69:16 (NIV)

Anne Lamott says there are three kinds of prayers: those that we say when we need God to help us, those that we utter out of gratitude, and those that we yell out of amazement. 

In the two and a half years since Xylon and I stared at a doctor while he told us Xylon had cancer, I’ve prayed lots of the “help” kind of prayers:

“Lord, give us wisdom.”

“Jesus, help me.” 


“God, we need you.”

I’ve prayed them as doctors walk in for consultations, in the middle of the night while Xylon shivers from fever, and on long trips to-and-from the hospital. 

Last week, we sat with a specialist talking about the way forward. The specialist spoke hard words. Words that suck hope out of a heart.

Oswald chambers quote on prayerI sat there. Listening to her. Praying my “help” prayers when suddenly the feeling in the room changed. Xylon describes it as he felt like God came and joined us in the room. All of a sudden where there had been death, life began to be spoken. Hope returned. 

Last week, in the doctors office, I was reminded that it is through prayer God’s grace can breathe light into the darkest situations. 

Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. (tweet this)
Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now – draw on the grace of God in your moment of need.”

Sometimes I forget that God’s grace is enough for me. I forget that God’s grace is sufficient to carry me through everything I struggle with. 

Through prayer, I am reminded that God’s grace is sufficient for today, for this moment, for this need.

Ponder: Do you think praying in the middle of your problems will change anything? Can you remember a circumstance where praying like that changed something? Share it in the comments and encourage others.

Prayer: Lord, I need you now. 

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When you feel like you can’t keep your head above water

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Bible verse about faith Matthew 14:29-31
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” Matthew 14:29-31 (MSG) 

The first week felt so hard. 

We walked more than we ran. 

Xylon and I would look at each other and puff out, “Can. We. Walk?”

A few weeks ago, we started running again. 

There are times when I run and I think, “Yes, my body was made for this.” It is easy to run on days like those. 

Then there are times when my legs fail, and I heave my breaths, and I wonder, “Why am I doing this?”

The last two runs have been tough. They have been the kind of workouts where I’ve only kept going because Xylon has been running beside me and he hasn’t stopped. 

Running with Xylon the other day I thought about how some days I only keep running because I can see that we are in this together and I’m not alone. 


Lately, on my runs I’ve been thinking about faith. I’ve been thinking about how faith can change with our circumstances. I’ve been reading Matthew 14, the part where Peter sees Jesus doing the impossible and asks Jesus if he can walk on water too. 

I’m often like Peter, stumbling forward with enough faith to believe ‘impossible’ is just a word people throw around. 

On days like that I have enough faith to believe that God has healed Xylon. And then something happens, our doctor talks about Xylon’s prognosis or more treatments, and like Peter, I look down at the waves churning at my feet, and I think, “What am I doing? How could I even think that impossible is nothing to God?” 

I mumble, “Lord, you’ve got to help me out.”
prayer for when you feel like you can't keep your head above water
And without hesitation Jesus reaches out, hugs me to himself and says, “Faint-heart, what got into you? Can’t you see that I’m here, doing the impossible?”

I'm learning that it’s easy to have faith when things are going well. 

It is hard to have faith when just taking the next breath is a struggle. 

Some days I only have faith because I know Jesus can reach me when I doubt. (tweet this)

I’m discovering that when I have nothing left in me to believe with Jesus will reach out and grab my hand. 

Jesus’ hand often looks like a doctor surprising us with treatment options we never dreamt of. 

Sometimes, Jesus’ hand looks like someone running beside me, reminding me when I feel overwhelmed, and my faith feels small, that I’m not alone, and that Jesus will never leave my side. 

Ponder: Because God is able reach out and grab your hand when your faith falters, how can you cultivate a sense of his presence in your own life?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for grabbing my hand when I can’t keep my head above water. 

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Five things to do when life is heavy and hard to take

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Five things to do when life is heavy and hard to take
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Lamentations 3:28-29 (MSG)

“There is no more cancer,” the doctor said, “but we must discuss the way forward.”

My husband and I looked at each other, confused, had we just been given good news. Did Xylon no longer have cancer? Why was the doctor still so serious?

The doctor told us about the chances of relapse, about treatment options, and referred us to a couple of other specialists. 

Lamentations 3:28-29 hope pic
We walked out of the oncologist’s rooms without the lightness we had expected to feel on hearing Xylon no longer has cancer. 

The last few weeks have been weird. We have been trying to live in celebration of his healing but at the same time weighted down by the big decisions we have to make about my husband’s health. 

Life has felt heavy and hard to take. 
I have lacked hope.

When I read Lamentations 3:28-29 it was like the verses were written for me. 

It’s a pretty prescriptive verse. It basically lists five things to do for hope to appear:

1. Go off by yourself.

2. Enter the silence.

3. Bow in prayer.

4. Don’t ask questions.

5. Wait for hope to appear.

I read it and it sounds so simple. But I know it’s not. Even finding time to go off by myself can be a challenge (and I don’t have kids). And I tend to be a talker and a questioner when it comes to God. 

But I read these five steps and my soul sighs, “Yes.” 

I know this is what I need. 

I don’t need more TV shows, books, or even bible reading, what I need is God. (tweet this)

hope and truth quoteSo I tried it. I went off myself for five to ten minutes. I sat in silence. Well, at first I put on some worship music but after a minute or two I found it distracting so I switched it off and did as the verse suggests, I entered the silence. 

I got on my knees. I quieted the questions and petitions – that so often come to mind when I pray – and I waited for hope to appear. I waited for God’s goodness to intercept my reality

There were no lights or visions or voices. I lay on the floor, because my knees became sore, feeling slightly stupid but desperate for hope, and I waited. 

And then hope did appear. I remembered how much God loves me, how I’ve lost sight of his love, and that I can trust his love for me

In the silence, I realised that sometimes hope comes in the disguise of truth. (tweet this)

Ponder: When was the last time you went off by yourself, bowed in prayer, and waited for hope to appear?

Pray: Jesus, what do you have for me?

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Singing my fear away (or why worship can be an act of war)

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

Worship is an act of war against the enemy of our hearts. Holley Gerth
After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing,
Give thanks to God,
His love never quits.
2 Chronicles 20:21 (MSG)

Sometimes I wake up in the night and I feel afraid. 

It has been like this since my childhood

I would wake in fear that a family member had died. (I’m pretty sure that having a mother and brother who were frequently in-and-out of hospital in my childhood did nothing to help this fear die.)

My parents taught me to sing when I woke in the night and felt afraid. They taught me simple praise and worship songs, 
He is the king of kings. 
He is the Lord of Lords. 
His name is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. 
Oh! He is the king.

The more times a song contained the name of Jesus the more I loved it. 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus 
sweetest name I know.
Fills my every longing, 
keeps me singing as I go.

My parents even put a tune to the scripture I pray when I am afraid:
God’s not given me a spirit of fear
But a spirit of love and of power
And a sound mind
To live each day and glorify his name.

I would whisper these songs into the dark of the night and the fear, which filled my heart, would slink away. 

In the last few years, there were times when Xylon had a fever while having chemo where I would lie still next to him stilling myself so I could hear his breathing, so I could assure myself he was okay. 

And then I would find myself singing. Worshipping God. 

Holley Gerth says, “Worship is an act of war against the enemy of our hearts.” (tweet this)

Quote on worshipI love that. 

I love that it moves worship from just being nice sounding songs to being a weapon. 

There is a story in the bible about the time that Jehoshaphat went to war using worship as his weapon. 

He was leading a group of people who were very afraid about the army they were about to go up against. 

So what does he do? Jehoshaphat calls a meeting and he prays. And then he chooses a choir for God to march ahead of the troops and sing,
Give thanks to God, His love never quits.

2 Chronicles 20 says, that as they began to sing and praise, the Lord sent ambushes and the armies that were against Jehoshaphat turned on each other and killed each other. By the time they came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.

What a picture of worship as war. 

Singing seems such a silly thing to do when you’re fighting a battle. But worship is more singing. 

Worship is inviting the God-of-the-Angel-armies to fight for us. 

As I sing I am fighting the enemy of my heart, and inviting God to fill me with love, power and a sound mind. 

As I worship I remind myself that the battles in my life are God’s to fight. (tweet this)

Ponder: Have you ever thought of using worship to fight fear?

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to use worship to fight fear. 

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When I think of God’s grace I think of my father (or Dad, this one is for you)

12:38 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

[A note from Wendy: I have a great dad. I often struggle to write about him because I know there are many others who have had father’s who hurt them, abandoned them or even abused them. But it’s Father’s Day this Sunday and I want to honour him for the role he has played in my life and for the example he has given me of what it looks like to be a Godly man. My father isn’t perfect but he’s been the best example to me of how God loves me. So Dad, this one is for you.] 
A father's day devotional
An earthly father expresses love for his children; it is no different with our heavenly Father; The Eternal shows His love for those who revere Him. Psalm 103:13 (NLT)

When I think of God’s grace I think of my father.

I think of my father picking my brother and I up from school with hot meat pies. Telling us once again that my mother’s heart condition had landed her in ICU. In my mind I see my father driving us between hospitals to visit my mother in one hospital and my little brother in another. And in the midst of all these hard things, I remember him taking time out of work to take me to a school for the deaf so I could learn sign language for a grade 4 speech on languages. 

I think about how God’s grace has made my father who he is today. 

My father has taught me that God has time for me (even with all the other crazy things going on the world). (tweet this)

When I think of God’s grace I think of my father.

I think of the time at nineteen when I called him at 8am in the morning to tell him I had written off his car. A car my brother’s and I had borrowed for a skiing trip. I recall standing on the side of the road and telling him we had been in an accident and hearing him ask only how we were, only if we were okay. 

I think about how God’s grace has made my father who he is today. 

My Daddy has shown me that I am loved because I am his daughter, not because of what I do. (tweet this)

Lesson from my father on Father's dayWhen I think of God’s grace I think of my father.

I think of the time when we argued over who I should marry. When we laid our hearts out before each other and tried to find a way forward in brokenness. I think of how he told me if I married Xylon he would never attend my wedding. I think about how God’s grace has taught us to forgive each other. And then I remember the day my father walked me down the aisle and led Xylon and I in our vows. 

I think about how God’s grace has made my father who he is today. 

My father has shown me that fears only hold us back if we don’t have the courage to trust God with our futures.

When I think of God’s grace I think of my father. 

I think of how my dad gave a woman he lectures a second chance to pass, and hope when she had none. I remember seeing the rings under his eyes after spending the whole night sitting up with his dog who is terrified of storms. I think of conversations with my dad about his bucket list and how his involves changing other's lives and not just doing cool things for himself. 

I think about how God’s grace has made my father who he is today. 

My dad has shown me that God’s grace isn’t just for him, or me, but for us to share with everyone we meet. (tweet this)

Ponder: How has your relationship with your father positively or negatively affected your view of God?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you always have more grace for us. 

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When you need someone to fight for you

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

The other night my husband and I were praying and I kept using the phrase, “the One who fights for me”. 

I'm not sure why.

It’s not the way I usually refer to God but that night I felt I needed to remind myself that God not only loves me but fights for me. 
When you need someone to fight for you
There’s a story in Exodus 14 that you might have heard in Sunday school. 

It’s a story of a group of people leaving the only home they’d known and fleeing an evil leader. They fled to the wilderness, and found themselves trapped between a sea they couldn’t cross, and a pharaohs’ army that they couldn’t fight. 

In the midst of this fear and panic their leader, Moses, spoke to the people, the Israelites,he had led out of Egypt, and said, The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

I wonder how the people Moses spoke to felt? I think I would have felt powerless, fearful and hopeless. 

I think being still; allowing God to work the situation out would be the hardest thing to do. 

Yet somehow the Israelites remained still. They stayed where they were till God told them to move. Until Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. God made the sea dry ground. And the people walked across a dry seabed to freedom. 

Exodus 14:14This story always reminds me that when I find myself caught between a force I can’t control and a group of people I can’t beat God will fight for me. 

God is big enough to fight the hard stuff in my life without my help. (tweet this)

God doesn’t need to huff and puff and hope that the waves move back a centimeter. He can command the wind to blow and the sea to reveal dry ground perfectly well without me.

God needs me to be still and see the miracles he will do on my behalf. 

There is One who fights for me; I need only to be still. (tweet this)

Ponder: What situation do you need God to fight for you in? How do you feel when you think about standing back, doing nothing, and letting God move?

Prayer: Lord, be the One who fights for me.

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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Shell @Doug88888 & Sand and Sea: Wendy van Eyck | Design: Wendy van Eyck