He HearsRead Now
Written By: Tanya Glanzman
“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12
I sat next to her hospital bed, holding her little hand, working hard to hold back the tears that refused to be held.
“I’m so sorry I’m crying baby.”
She looked at me with a glint of a smile in her eyes and a teasing tone in her voice.
“Oh mama, if you weren’t crying, something would be wrong.”
And then, with her bald head, too thin frame and wisdom and peace beyond her years she said, “It’s okay Mama, Jesus is here.” Having now been given permission, I let go, held her as tight as I could without hurting her or disrupting the many cords that stretched between her little body and the incessantly beeping machines, laid my head next to her and sobbed.
We were over a year into our cancer journey. We were weary. We were told at the beginning that the course of treatment for my daughter who was diagnosed at 13 would be about 2.5 years depending on how things went.
This hospital stay took us by surprise, a result of an allergic reaction to one of the many chemo-therapy treatments she was given. On this day it just seemed more than I could tolerate. Did we really need one more thing?
This medication was created in a way that it re-released in her system every few hours, which meant that every few hours she was once again hit hard with an allergic reaction that was difficult for her to experience and difficult for me to watch. She could feel it coming on each time, I sat feeling helpless and out of control pressing the button for the nurse who would rush in and inject the appropriate medication into her line.
For the most part I worked hard to stay cheerful for her sake. She was already going through enough and the last thing I wanted to do was to lay my emotional baggage at her feet. We did our best to find humor and distract during the long days at the chemo clinic and long nights in the emergency room and hospital. Surgeries…bone marrow biopsies…spinal taps…. meetings with the medical team.
She is about to turn 24. Our cancer journey has long been over. I’m still recovering. Those were, hands down, the longest and most traumatic two and a half years of my life.
I wish I could tell you that I was a prayer warrior during this season. That I fought the good fight, that I didn’t fear. That having done all to stand, I stood firm on the truths of God’s Word to get through.
The truth, however, is that I struggled, and I struggled big. In fact, the first 3 months after her diagnoses, I didn’t even talk to God. I was angry. I felt betrayed. I couldn’t believe that we were faced with this. That this child, that I was told I would never even be able to have, was now fighting for her life. It all seemed so unfair.
I had prayed.
I had prayed that I would be able to conceive and give birth.
I had prayed that I would be able to be a good mom- better than the one I’d had.
I had prayed that God would keep my children safe from harm.
I had prayed.
The enemy of our soul desires nothing more than to convince us through whatever means necessary that our prayer is pointless. Convincing us that that which is pointless is powerless is a tremendous and often effective scheme.
His goals are clearly unveiled in John 10:10 where we are told “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” His motives revolve around working to steal your peace, kill your joy and destroy your intimacy with your Heavenly Father.
He wants you to believe that you are abandoned, forsaken, and left to your own devices when it comes to navigating your way through this journey of life. Often, he will remind you of all the reasons you are in this mess to begin with and how it’s your fault. Above all, he would like you to believe that you are alone. And yet, we know that this could never be, for the Word of God is very clear “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)
At times, however, it can seem like we are not being heard and it can feel like we are alone. Our circumstances seem to remain the same no matter how much we pour our hearts out to the Father. Fear begins to strangle out our faith and the enemy takes full advantage of our trials, struggles and weaknesses to shoot the fiery darts of doubt and insecurity deep within our hearts. The lies that He screams into our ears begin to become louder than the small still voice within reminding us to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
When the enemy, in the sly way that he does, attempts to convince us of anything other than truth regarding prayer, we can effectively combat those lies of deception by wielding the sword of the spirit. The truth contained within God’s word assures us that, without a doubt, he does hear us when we pray. When the enemy whispers lies that contradict this truth, we must choose to fight back by “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Any thought that does not align itself with the truth of God needs to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
He loves us.
He died for us.
He promises to never leave us.
He dwells within us.
He cares deeply about every single piece of our lives.
He hears us.
Each thought that comes can influence our beliefs, attitude and behaviors. As we fill ourselves with the truth of God’s word, we will more easily be able to identify those thoughts that come which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, which is His truth. As we identify those thoughts, we then bring them into the obedience of Christ by countering with that truth within us.
I eventually started talking to God again. When I came to the end of myself and realized that without intimacy with Him, I surely would never survive what lay before us. Where else do I have to go but into the arms of the one who knows me best and loves me most? And, like always, His arms were opened wide, waiting to be the comfort and peace that my soul longed for. And although we still journeyed long and hard days, I allowed Him to journey close beside me, where He wanted to be all along, and together…we made it through.
Daughter of God, run to Him today. Amid your mess, struggle, and storm. He’s waiting.
Pray with me-
Father, help me, as I face the difficult journeys in life to never stop running to you. When the cry of my heart roars pain and sorrow, fear, and doubt, help me to cling to what is true. Carry me when I’m too tired to run into your arms. Hold me close when I struggle to push away. Remind me always that you hear me, you listen to me and that you will never stop loving me. No matter what. I can’t and don’t want to do life without you.
Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash
Written By: Tanya Glanzman
Boundaries have always been confusing to me. Growing up in an environment where there were absolutely no healthy boundaries, I’ve had to learn as I go, and it has been a struggle.
For so long I thought boundaries were used to control other’s behaviors. This worked when my kids were young. You may not hit your sister. You must go to bed. You cannot only have Oreo’s for dinner. Boundaries, when my kids were small, were about teaching them the life skills they needed to become healthy, functional adults. It seemed easier then.
I established the boundaries, and it was their job to respect them, to honor them. The goal became to build enough relationship and trust between them and I that they trusted that whatever boundaries I set for them were generated from a heart of love and for their good.
I wish I could say that they always did. As I look back now I am able to recognize that although it was never my intention, sometimes the boundaries I set for them originated out of different, less beautiful motives. Sometimes fear. Sometimes control. Sometimes pride.
My desire to be seen a certain way by others too often bled its way into my boundaries for my children. I saw them, their success, their behavior, their obedience as a reflection of my worth and value as their mother. I wanted others to see how good of a “stay at home, homeschooling mom” I was and the measurement of that seemed to be how well my children followed the rules and flourished in all the ways.
Now, with my young adult children, boundaries look different. Much different. As they continue to grow into the people God created them to be, it seems the tables have turned and all that I once had domain over, their lives, has shifted in a way that it is them who set the boundaries now. They now determine what I have access to- their time, information, and their willingness to invite me into the place of offering wisdom or advice now rests solely in their hands and hearts. They are the ones that ultimately decide what I have access to. It has been at times a painful, difficult paradigm shift for this mama’s heart to come to terms with.
I still love them with my whole entire heart and I still believe that I have wisdom, offered by age and experience, that could be beneficial to them. I’ve learned though that wisdom that is invited is almost always better received than wisdom that is not. I find myself in a season of watching, waiting, and praying. Thankful for each opportunity I am invited in. I do my best to continue to cultivate relationship so that they remember that my heart is for them and that anytime I offer them what I perceive as truth related to their lives, it is from a heart of love for them. Even when it’s hard or something they would rather not hear.
This parenting young adult’s thing is no joke. I’m thankful my children have been patient and gracious with me as I’ve learned not to overstep into the territories that were once within my domain. We learn together as we navigate this new road.
My journey with my Heavenly Father so resembles my journey with my own children with the exception that He is the perfect parent who never has impure motives for anything that He offers. In this relationship, I am the inviter…He the one who offers.
As I cultivate my relationship with Him, He who is always present, always speaking, always loving, I’ve grown in my own knowledge that the boundaries He sets for me are solely from His love for me and for my good.
It has been a struggle.
From the deep recesses of my soul, I detest ever feeling controlled. Too many years being controlled by people with evil intent and selfish, impure heart motives placed within me a literal hate of feeling out of control. I became radically independent and self-sufficient, lacking trust for authority figures.
This bled into my relationship with my Abba. To learn that each and every boundary He sets for me through His Word, His wisdom and His leading is only ever and always out of a heart of love for me is a journey on which I remain.
How do I know this? Because to this day, there are places still where I fail to invite Him in. Places within my own heart where I know I’ve heard Him and am not quick to yield. Places where I’ve gone my own way knowing that it’s not what He has led me to. And yet… He is faithful to continue the good work that He has begun in me (Phil. 1:6). He waits. He watches. Ever-present. Never abandoning, forsaking, or turning away from me. He loves me so well. So faithfully. So patiently.
And yet, of this journey of learning to trust whole-heartedly, when the consequences of my failing to invite or to yield to His boundaries result in consequences that are heavy, He surrounds me with his gentleness, His tenderness, His mercy. He holds me close and assures me of His love. He reminds me of who He is and who I am in and through Him and He assures me that He will never stop walking with me on this journey of learning to be loved by the only One who is truly trustworthy in all that He says and does.
Pray with me...
Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for never letting me go. Thank you for continuing to teach me in all things. Help me to lean, trust and rely on you in all things. Help me to be quick to yield to your Word, Your Wisdom and leadership. Thank you for your grace, mercy, and comfort when I struggle in this place.
Help me to invite you into every place always. Trusting that whatever boundaries you set for me, are from your heart of love for me and for my good.
I come to you now and always in the name of Jesus.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
What's Most Important?Read Now
Written By: Tanya Glanzman
Why is it that that word immediately causes a reflexive “ugh” to rise within me? It seems to have the same impact as words like discipline, self-control...trust.
Because instantly, I’m reminded of all the of the places I am currently not consistent. I’ll spare you the long list, but if I were a bettin’ woman, I’d bet we had some similarities if we compared lists.
And it’s not like they are new things, or even hard things. In fact, they are the same things I’ve been working on for years…and years. And that can cause me to feel frustrated with myself.
So quickly I can find myself stuck in the mental loop of self-abasement. What in the heck is wrong with you? Why can’t you get your act together? What is your issue with this one thing that keeps you from being consistent in this one area?
The thing is, it’s never just one area or one thing that I struggle with. I’m actually usually pretty good at doing one thing consistently, consistently. In fact, I’m wired in a way that when I get my mind focused on one thing, I work at it 150%. It tends to consume my time, my energy, my ability. All that I am can get so consumed with that one thing and usually, in this way, I can be pretty successful in that one thing. For a time.
This issue, however, is that in the pouring out of all my time and energy into that one thing, all of the other things, the really important things of life, tend to fall to the sidelines.
For years I searched for that just right eating plan to help me be the me I wanted to be. I would invest hours of my time researching and learning. I would think about it, talk about it and post about it. I joined groups and found friends on the same journey. I’m an “all in” kind of girl and each time I started ALL IN. Most of my time and focus would be placed upon the current, at the time, plan.
And then slowly…a little at a time, I would run out of steam. I could only maintain that level of intensity for so long before I fizzled out. And before I knew it, I just wasn’t doing it anymore. It was too hard, too much to juggle with all the other pieces of life that demanded pieces of me. The other things of life began to crowd their way back onto the field.
I ran a marathon, once. At 35 I decided that if I didn’t do it then, I never would. I wanted that 26.2 sticker for the back of my car so bad I could taste it.
I trained. Hard. In the cold, in the heat, hour after hour of my feet hitting the pavement with an irritatingly (especially at 4am) cheerful accountability partner 11 years my junior.
For a season, this goal held all my focus. I thought about running, talked about running, ran and then ate chocolate ice cream because, after all, I ran, I deserved it. And just a side note, my eating well consistency and my running consistency didn’t coincide in the same season.
I’m glad I ran that marathon 10 years ago. I’m not sure where the sticker that was so important to me at that time went, but I have the medal and the photo (somewhere…I’m sure of it.) I haven’t really run since. And please, if I ever tell you I’m thinking about training for another marathon just mention mile 22 and port-o-potties and you will have loved me well.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Balance is key. Consistency in BALANCE. Learning to balance all of these beautiful people and responsibilities and all that contains life in my world. Learning to be consistent in allowing Him, the very one who blessed me with this body, this mind and all I have the privilege and responsibility to love and love well to lead me in my daily priorities.
Consistency in yielding every single part of myself to Him, daily, to lead me in the way that I should go. To make my priority list for me. To gently nudge, to quietly whisper and to help me have the self-control I need to place His priorities as my own.
I’ve learned that He cares so much less about all of the things that I tend to make so important. The goals and dreams that I have elevated within my own heart and given so much of myself to. He has revealed to me in this season that at His very core what He cares about most are people.
Loving with His love and being Jesus with skin on to those around me. At home, at work, at the grocery store, in traffic.
As I continuously endeavor to find balance in all things, my personal prayer is that I will consistently rest in His love for me and will consistently yield to that love in a way that allows me to consistently demonstrate His love to others.
There is no goal, dream or desire more worthy of all of me. Consistently.
Let’s pray together,
Father, ABBA. Thank you for your unwavering, never ending, faithful and enduring love for me. Help me to balance well all of these beautiful parts of this life that you have given me in a way that bring glory and honor to you. Help me Father to hold your heart and to see others and myself the way that you do. Help me to consistently love like you love and to place the priority of people and their hearts above any and all priorities that my own human heart would try to elevate above. Help me Father to always let my ONE THING, my most important thing, to never fail to simply be sitting at your feet.
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