Why swim in cold water?

Swimming in cold water may not appeal to many, but it could be the key to your physical and mental health this season.

I have always loved the ocean, and will happily swim in any weather, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised the tremendous health benefits it offers. Here I share some of the many reasons why we swim in cold water and why you should too.

It can boost your immune system

When we swim in cold water our body is forced to react to the changing condition and it fires up our sympathetic nervous system to protect us. This voluntary action can, when repeated over time, help our body to activate its defences faster.

It can improve circulation

When we swim in cold water our heart has to work harder to force the blood to our extremities to keep us moving and keep us warm. As it does this, it flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries and aids the lymphatic system in expelling toxins from our body.

It can reduce inflammation

Swimming has long be known as a superb low impact exercise for our joints, but cold water swimming can go one step further. As adrenaline and endorphins are released, this can soothe or even stop joint pain and reduce inflammation over time.

It can support and sustain mental health

Cold water swimming is by no means a cure for any condition, however our body released endorphins when in the water which gives us a natural high. This study in the British Medical Journal on a 24-year-old woman shows its effects. She had been treated for symptoms of a major depressive disorder and anxiety since the age of 17, but wanted to live medication and symptom free after the birth of her daughter. She began open water swimming each week and this led to an immediate improvement in mood following each swim and gradual reduction in symptoms of depression. A year later she was medication free.

How to swim safe

Cold water swimming is a euphoric experience, but it can be dangerous too. These are some important safety tips from the Outdoor Swimming Society:

  • Never swim alone
  • Never go out of your depth
  • Keep immersions brief – a few minutes is all you need
  • Warm up when you get out with layers, hats, gloves and a warm drink
  • Have something to eat to rasie your blood sugar
  • Walk around to raise your body temperature
  • Never have a hot shower straight after as the sudden change in blood flow can cause you to pass out.

As with any exercise, cold water immersion affects your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation, which means it can cause serious cardiac stress. If you have a heart condition or any underlying health condition, please discuss the risks with your doctor first.

Join a cold water swim

Each month Mental Health Swims hosts cold water swim meets up and down the country. I host one here in Aberavon, Port Talbot and you would be so welcome to join us! Details can be found here. Alternatively, check out the Outdoor Swimming Society for other meets.

Happy swimming!

R x

Failing forward

If there is one thing I really dislike, it is losing face in front of others. I am a firm believer in go big or go home; I like to dream big, bold dreams and put them ‘out there’ for all to see. This brings a certain level of accountability on my part, and also makes me stretch my faith. But it also means that if I don’t achieve the dream or see the miracle happen then the world and his wife have a front row seat.

There have been a few ‘failures’ over the past few years. I haven’t reached the goals I wanted to in my business, I didn’t get the job that I thought was ‘mine’, I didn’t continue homeschooling past 12 months and I didn’t move in to my new house by the time frame I expected. The galling thing for me is that with all of these things, I felt called by God into each and every one of them. And I told the world that.

Does that mean that God let me down? Does that mean that I didn’t hear from God in the first place? I don’t think it means any of these things. I think God has called me to each and every business venture, job application, educational experience and relocation for reason. Let me explain…

In 2017, a much wanted little girl came into our lives and my mental health came crashing down. As a family we were very much in the trenches, fighting for our faith, our marriage and our kids. We lost so much, but Jesus kept us together and kept us strong. It was during my illness that I discovered the power of aromatherapy and my business was born out of awe, wonder and my love of science as I shared what I learned. Essential oils played a huge part in my recovery and continue to support our health and wellness.

By Autumn 2018, my health was vastly improved and I was excited about a glittering future in my business, however it was at this point that God challenged me about home schooling my children. Believe me, this was never part of my plan… but God kept challenging me and as I prayed into it I felt that He truly wanted me to do this. We discussed it as a family and in March 2019 we pulled out children out of mainstream school.

The business took a backseat, but what a year we had! We basked in our new found freedom and found kindred spirits who will be life long friends, yet I felt stifled and at times overwhelmed being with my children 24/7. Yet another venture that wasn’t panning out as I thought it would… I began to consider whether homeschooling was for us, and whether both my children and I needed something ‘more’. We had committed to giving it a year and then reviewing the decision.

In December 2019, I felt compelled to apply for a part time role. This didn’t sit with my business/home school plans either! Surely I had enough on my plate with a wellness business, aromatherapy diploma underway and being a full time homeschooling mama to three? The job was a ministry role which I felt was perfect and would enable me to use my skills in pastoral care, networking and leadership to further God’s Kingdom. I felt that God was leading me to this role, yet despite being shortlisted to the last two, I was unsuccessful.

Fast forward to March 2020. We had made the decision to put the children back into school, only for them to come back home again after two short weeks (thanks coronavirus!) What in the world? I felt like everything was crashing down, my plans were going out of the window and I literally went to God saying what the heck? What was I meant to do now?

As we prayed during lockdown and felt that God was leading us to relocate to Wales – a dream we had had for years, but each time we pushed the door, God had always said “not now”. Now He was swinging the doors wide open.

Here is what God has shown me about the importance of every step in my journey:

After adopting our daughter, God led me to a wonderful Christian mama who became a mentor and a friend, supporting and educating me in how to support our family wellness. Without her, I would never have started this journey.

Homeschooling was never about bucking the system – it was about pressing reset as a family. It was about recovering the lost year and rediscovering each other, and who we are in Christ. It was about becoming stronger in out faith and as a family.

The slow steady growth of my business, rather than the massive growth I dreamed of kept my options open and my heart humble. It meant that my hands were ready to receive what God had in store rather than trusting in my own provision.

The job application was about obedience – saying yes to God, yes to His plans and purposes even when it seemed to be outside of our plans or time frame. It made me realise how far we had come and how I was now ready to step into the next phase of my life.

This step of obedience then prepared us for the next yes – relocating to Wales. If I had gotten the job, if I hadn’t been flexible due to home school, if I hadn’t been certain in my faith due to relying completely on God, if I hadn’t started my wellness journey and continued my personal development I wouldn’t be writing this from Wales right now.

These events were ‘failures’ to me because I didn’t set out to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but I can now see that I was failing forward into what God had planned for me. He set me up to be here, right now, and even though I continue to wait for the final hurdle allowing us to move into our new home, I can say with confidence that God has never let me down and I can trust Him with this too.

If you have something you need to trust God for, can I encourage you with this:

I wait patiently for the Lord. I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope – Psalms 130:5

Hold on friend, He’s got you.

R x

Travelling during Covid-19

We are just back from a week away in Devon – something we weren’t sure would even happen in the wake of Coronavirus. Although we certainly saw and felt the affects of Covid-19 safety measures, I am pleased to say that we thoroughly enjoyed out time away. Here are our top tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer.

Talk about risks

I have always believed in talking to our children and explaining the risks. You don’t need to go into major detail about Covid-19 symptoms, but it is important to explain why we need to wash hands and stay away from others, especially indoors. Giving children the facts, and some tools such as their own masks and hand sanitiser, can help them feel a little bit more in control and take away the fear of Coronavirus. It is near impossible to expect children to social distance from one another (especially in playgrounds) so also talk about that, and if this makes you or your family anxious, steer clear.

Take it slow

When Covid first hit, I was very fearful and felt extremely anxious when outside the home, leaving my mental health fragile. I feel much more comfortable now, as I have had time to acclimatise, but the chances are our children haven’t. Don’t underestimate the fear and anxiety they may have from conversations they have heard or news programmes they have watched. Talk about how they may be feeling and give them time to acclimatise to being out in the big wide world again. Observe them while you are out and about and be sure to give them opportunity to say if they feel overwhelmed (without being a helicopter parent!).

Travel happy

We wouldn’t travel anywhere without the Fab Five: Thieves, Digize, Peppermint, Purification and Lavender essential oils. We use Thieves daily for immune support in a roller bottle swiped along our feet/spines, and increase our use while travelling and eating alfresco. Our children occasionally suffer with motion sickness so we support their tummies with DiGize on their abdomens and peppermint on their wrists. Finally, we have an outdoor spray made with Peppermint and Purification to keep our legs and arms bite free and Lavender for any owies.

Avoid the masses

This almost goes without saying, but arcades, amusements, restaurants, ice cream and souvenir shops are hot spots for people. If you or your loved ones are already anxious, then being in these places may make you feel very uncomfortable. It is worth researching less touristy beaches and heading off the beaten track to find little hidden gems away from the masses. Save your pennies by packing picnics and buying boxes of ice lollies from the supermarket. Finally, why not get the kiddos to send a video postcard to relatives via WhatsApp and create magnets from uploaded holiday snaps instead of hitting the High Street.

Make it memorable

Face masks will be mandatory in shops across the UK from the 24th July, so why not invest in some cute designs to make masks more fun? Children under 11 are exempt, however don’t discount them wearing one as it may help them feel a bit more protected while out and about. You can also pop a drop of your fave essential oil to help make mask-wearing more bearable. Valor is great for those who feel very anxious or Thieves for immune support on the go.

Happy holidays!

R x

Get your feet on the ground

There is nothing better than bare feet on the grass or toes in the sand. Ever wondered why that is? It is because when we are connected to the ground, our energy connects with the Earth’s energy. The concept is that when we walk on the ground we have access to the Earth’s supply of free electrons which can help neutralize harmful free radicals in our bodies.

Energy is so frequently categorised as ‘new age’, but it needs to be claimed back by Christians. We know that the Earth has a magnetic field, we know that there is a positive and negative charge or energy. Everything in this world was made by God, and everything vibrates at a specific ‘frequency’. Every living thing, every plant, every person, even rocks have a vibration or frequency. But let’s remember that God made the earth, and the rocks, and the plants and US. Everything has energy because He put it there.

Everything in life is vibration – Albert Einstein

When we live in built up areas, surrounded by concrete not coastlines, surrounded by pavements and not parks, it is easy to understand how our energy can become ‘off’. Vibration or frequency is measured in MHz, and when the human body dips below 72MHz, we are more vulnerable to illness.

Normal Brain Frequency 72 MHz
Human Body 62–78 MHz
Colds and the Flu start at 57–60 MHz
Disease starts at 58 MHz
Candida overgrowth starts at 55 MHz
Receptive to Cancer at 42 MHz
Death begins at 25 MHz

Eating fruit and vegetables – living things with frequency – can raise our frequency. That is why those with diets high in fresh foods are typically healthier that those who consume processed food. Fresh food, drink, herbs and essential oils are full of living energy that is transferred to us and energises us, whereas pollutants and processed food can actually decrease our frequency and make us feel sluggish.

Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing – Ezekiel 47:12

I have learned that it is hard to dream big and live well when you don’t feel well. Environment has a massive part to play in our wellbeing, and where we live can often determine how we live. If we have access to open space, green parks, beautiful landscapes that shout of God’s glorious creation, we often feel much more relaxed and able to breathe. My biggest dreams and most impactful moments with God have so often come when I have been wandering through the woods, swimming in the ocean or staring across the valley from a mountain top. I feel well when I am in nature, and it is no surprise when you consider that God created us to be in nature, not in concrete blocks.

God created us to be in nature, not in concrete blocks

During our wellness journey we have learned that using essential oils can raise our frequency, while we simultaneously reduce and remove pollutants, toxins and processed food that can affect our frequency. As we have done more and more research on holistic wellness, we have found that walking barefoot on the ground is one of the easiest (and free!) ways to balance your body and reconnect with the Earth that God made. This practice is known as grounding or earthing. Just 15-20 minutes a day of being barefoot in your garden can make a huge difference to your energy levels, your sleep and your bodies God-given ability to heal itself. Go check out Grounded on Netflix or The Earthing Movie to find out more.

R x

Chasing waves and wellness

There is nowhere I would rather be, than in the woods or by the sea. For as long as I can remember, I have loved the great outdoors, and been especially mesmerised by the coast. Dave and I have made some of our biggest decisions while walking in the woods or along the beach, and, despite loving our friends in the Midlands, we try to escape landlocked living as often as possible.

When I struggled with maternal mental health in 2013, and again in 2016, I found refuge in being outdoors. Wandering deep in the woods or walking barefoot in the waves is where I feel at home and able to breathe. There is something so soothing to my soul about the rustle of leaves in the canopy above my head or the sound of the ocean waves lapping at my feet. More than that, I feel closer than ever to God when I am in nature. When I gaze out at the kaleidoscope of colours in a sunset or feel the powerful tide surge beneath me, I feel connected more deeply to our Creator.

We have been on a huge wellness journey as a family over the past few years, with exercise, the great outdoors and essential oils. The effect of oils on my mental health initially and our family health subsequently was game changing. We have learned about toxins in our home and how they affect us and took steps to remove and replace them wherever possible.

The Bible says that Jesus came so that we might have life and live it to the full. For our family, that means living a healthy, active life outdoors, and it has long been a dream of ours to relocate to the Coast. God gives us desires for a reason; He wants us to fulfill them!

We have seriously explored moving to Wales for three years, and despite a prophetic word from a friend in 2017 confirming that we would indeed move, the timing wasn’t right. Anna told me that she had seen a picture of me in a boat, rowing towards a picturesque coastline but I wasn’t moving anywhere. God told her that I would get to where I wanted to go, but only when I stopped rowing the boat. True to form, (I am independent and stubborn) I kept rowing anyway. We explored the area, found a church but each time we pushed the door in 2017, 2018 and 2019, we felt them firmly close.

We finally began to settle again and and it was only when we stopped pushing for a move that God stepped in and made a way in 2020. Dave received an unexpected (but very deserved) promotion then Covid-19 happened. It was during lock down that we really got to thinking again where do we want to be? We committed it to prayer and asked God to make a way. Next thing we knew, Dave had secured a transfer to the Cardiff office, God gave us places for the boys at an oversubscribed school and we bought a house 1 mile from the beach all in the same week!

To say God has moved would be an understatement and we are incredibly excited about our new chapter, chasing waves and wellness in Wales. God willing, we will be moved by early August. Dave will continue working from home, for now, I will continue building my wellness community, educating others on the power of plants and we will keep chasing wholeness with Jesus. But this time, we get to do all this from our favourite place in the world – the coast. We hope you will join us on the journey!

R x

Faith

Where is your security?

We recently received some income and felt like we finally had a financial buffer. Then today we were hit with a huge car repair bill that wiped out all bar a couple of hundred pounds of it. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and I’m guessing this is how the Israelites felt in the wilderness.

In Exodus 16 we read that they had left slavery in Egypt and were finally tasting freedom when they found themselves without food in the wilderness. The Israelites grumbled and felt sorry for themselves – in Egypt at least they had all the meat and bread that they wanted!

Moses went to God and His response was to rain down manna each morning and meat by night. But there was one caveat – they weren’t to store any of the provision.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” Exodus 16:4

Regardless of the instructions, the Israelites were fearful and kept some behind, but the next morning the manna and meat were rotten. Regardless of God’s promises to meet their daily needs, they tried to take control.

Why would God do this? He was testing the Israelites trust in Him, that He alone would prove His love by providing for His people.

Every. Single. Day.

Each time we feel a little bit financially okay as a family something seems to go wrong. Just when I think we have a handle on things, our savings are depleted again. I confess that I went to God in floods of tears about our unexpected bill. He simply said; “the money I provided you with was to cover the repairs that you needed. I will give you what you need when you need it.

The One who breathed life into my bones brought the funds that we needed.

Talk about a reality check. The One who breathed life into my bones brought the funds that we needed. God knew we needed a safe car to transport our most precious cargo. He knew the repairs were more than we could finance so He covered it. God also knows what I need next week, and the week after that. And He gives me daily bread.

God reminded me today that if He can raise £1500 for car repairs then He can provide for my family and I. All too often I place my security in my savings, but God reminder me today that I need to place my security in my Saviour. I hope that if this message finds you in a tight spot too that you will be encouraged. God’s got this and He’s got you.

R x

The Choice – part 3

What is a good romance story without a rags to riches tale? In The Notebook we see Allie and Noah; a rich uptown girl and a working class boy. They should never have crossed paths, they were told they would never make it yet their love surpassed surpassed the doubters. They chose each other.

Ruth and Boaz should never have crossed paths, and indeed, we read that there is an age gap which suggests it should ever have worked. But God.

During this series, we have looked at the choices of the people in the story of Ruth, but today I want to look at the choices of God.

God chose Ruth & Boaz

Why would God choose a moabitess – not an Israelite woman – to begin the line that led to an ancestor of Jesus? Why would God choose Boaz – a man who was not a Jew, was the son of Rahab the prostitue? Both were unlikely choices to build a Royal bloodline, but God saw beyond their circumstances and looked straight at their hearts. Ruth and Boaz were faithful, loyal and generous.

God chooses broken people

Time and time again we see God use ‘broken people’ inthe Bible. Paul the persecutor of Christians, David the adulterer, Moses the murderer, these are just a few examples of men who did great things becuase of their great God. These people lied, stole, hurt, betrayed, yet they all gave their hearts to God and sat with Jesus.

Jesus is the greatest love story. He is the kinsman redeemer, like Boaz, and we the bride, like Ruth, He is coming to redeem. Boaz wanted the lady not the land – Jesus wants you not the prestige of position. Lets look at the comparisons:

Ruth returned with Naomi to Bethlehem – Jesus returned to Earth
Ruth reached out to Boaz – Jesus reached out to us and for us on the cross
Boaz redeemed Ruth – Jesus redeemed us by paying the price for our sin
Boaz restored Elimelech’s name – Jesus restored our relationship with God

Jesus chooses you

Despite being the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus lowered Himself to a baby born in a filthy stable, growing up as a tradesman’s son. He died the most ugly, cruel and despicable death, even though He could have commanded the angels to rescue Him at anytime. e did that for you, and He would do it again even if you were the only person on earth. That baby that was born in stable and wrapped in dirty rags is now clothed in glory, as the King of Heaven.

Now that is a rags to riches story for the ages.

R x

The Choice – part 2

Being on your own can be scary, and even more so in the times of Ruth in the Old Testament. However, the choices that Ruth made led to her being placed in the Royal bloodline.

Last time we looked at how Ruth chose to stay with her mother in law, Naomi. That in itself was a major step of faith – she was leaving her natural family, her culture, her past behind to embrace a brand new life in an alien environment. This week we pick up the story in chapter 2 where Ruth chooses to work in her new home town of Bethlehem.

Working as a woman was a risky business, even more so if she didn’t have a husband or father to provide for and protect her. Ruth was a moabitess; a foreigner. She was not like others and could have faced discrimination or judgement from women and unwanted attention from men. This would make her choice to work even more dangerous, yet she wasn’t willing to live on hand outs. She wanted to earn her own money, gather her own food and provide for Naomi and herself.

Ruth’s choice to work led to Boaz’s choice to provide

Ruth ended up working in the field that belonged to Boaz, a relative of Elimelech (Naomi’s deceased husband and her father in law). This was no coincidence, this was a God-incidence. As Ruth chose to work, God provided Boaz, who quickly offered the protection and provision that Ruth so desperately needed.

Boaz choice to provide and protect led to Ruth reaching out

As Ruth received from Boaz, she shared the story with Naomi, who quickly saw God’s hand at work as she realised who this man was. Boaz was a kinsman redeemer – as a relative of Elimelech, he could redeem his widow, or in this case the widow’s daughter in law, to claim the land in Elimelech’s name. Naomi urged Ruth to reach out to Boaz and make her intentions to him known. A woman couldn’t propose to a man, but she could lay at his feet to show that she would like to be placed under his covering. So Ruth did just that, finding Boaz at the threshing floor and laying down at his feet.

Ruth’s choice to reach out led to Boaz choosing to redeem

In Ruth 3, Boaz found Ruth and responded with tenderness and generosity, promising to redeem her and sending her home with provision. However, first he had to consult a relative who was a closer relative than he. This is where we learn the true heart of Boaz. As Boaz approached his relative, he asks him if he would like to gain the land, to which the relative replies yes. But when Boaz went on to explain that in order to gain the land, the man must also gain a wife and further the name of Elimelech, the man back tracked.

Our motives are so very important. Boaz wasn’t interested in the land, he wanted the lady. He saw Ruth’s heart, her loyalty, her diligence and he wanted to provide for and protect her. Gaining Elimelech’s land was simply a bonus.

We see throughout the book of Ruth how the choices the characters made led to incredible provision. When they moved, God moved. Indeed, this rural romance was not just a love story – it led to the Royal line of King David, who was an ancestor of Jesus Christ. The greatest choice ever made was that of God sending His Son Jesus to earth for us. He wanted to have a relationship with us, which is why Jesus came. Jesus then chose to die for you and me, the hardest decision He was ever faced with. His motives were the same as Boaz – Jesus wants to cover you, to provide for and protect you, so that you will never be alone again. Just like Ruth, all you have to do is sit at His feet and say I am here, and I am yours.

R x

The Choice – part 1

I am a sucker for a romantic movie, and my favourite one of all time is The Choice (closely followed by The Notebook). Both movies feature couples whose love beats all the odds and whose choices affect their entire lives.

We find a similar love story in the book of Ruth, a woman who was faced with a series of choices that would change not just her life but the lives of all mankind. But first let me give you a bit of the backstory.

The story of Ruth was written at the same time as Judges, and in this book we learn that the Israelites had no strong spiritual leadership. There had been several Judges appointed to bring law and order, but they had failed, and now ‘everyone did whatever seemed right to him.’ Judges 21:25

We all know that a lack of leadership can lead to vigilante style law. A lack of rules leads to rebellion, and this was certainly true of Israel at this time. This was not a stable economy, or safe society. A famine had broken out and the book begins with choice number one; Elimelech decides to flee his home town of Bethlehem with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion.

Elimelech chooses Moab

After leaving Bethlehem, Elimelech settles in the land of Moab, but shortly after dies. His sons remain in Moab and take Moabite wives, Ruth and Orpah, however both of Elimelech’s sons die, leaving Naomi and her daughters in law destitute. In this day and age, it was not safe for a woman to be alone. Not only could she not provide for herself, but she could not protect herself either. Despite her deep grief at losing not only her husband, but her two children also, Naomi makes a choice to trust God. She decides that she will return to her homeland of Bethlehem upon hearing that ‘the Lord had paid attention to His people’s needs by providing them food.’ Ruth 1:6

Naomi chooses God

In choosing to trust God, she chooses to return home, but the she goes on to do another very selfless act. She tells her daughters to return home to their families. After many tears, Orpah decides to leave and is never mentioned again. Ruth on the other hand chose to stay and her name is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.

Ruth chooses Naomi

So much can hang on one decision. Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi was not made on a whim, it was made on the basis of the faith she saw rise up in her mother in law despite such abject grief. It was made on the realisation that God could and would help her, if she followed Him. That even in her darkest days, through the hardest moments, God was still God. This challenges me so deeply. On my darkest days, can I truly say that my words and actions reflect God and who He is? Do my life choices speak of the faith that rises up in me in response to difficult circumstances?

Do others see God’s hand in our choices? Our faith in our responses?

Ruth didn’t just stay with Naomi, she left all that she knew behind. She chose to embrace a culture and a God that she had not been brought up in, she left was her family home. Ruth also went one step further in making vows to Naomi. These were a covenant promise before God. She vowed to travel with Naomi, to live with her, to make Naomi’s people her people, to worship Naomi’s God, to die where she dies and be buried where she is buried.

Those are some pretty big promises to a woman who is not a blood relative. But what happens next just blows my mind. As Ruth left her bloodline, God placed her in His royal line. Because of the choices that Ruth made, she became the great grandmother of King David, an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

As I reflected on this, I wondered how God felt toward Ruth, and why she was chosen for such a great honour. In the movie The Choice, local ladies man Travis meets his neighbour Gabby and is totally captivated by her. She gets under his skin in a way that no one else ever has, and he has a phrase he uses with her; ‘You bother me, baby.’ I believe that Ruth bothered God. I believe that she was so loved by God, that He could see her beautiful heart and He wanted to honour the choices she made.

This is just the same for us today. YOU bother God. You bother Him so much that He wrote the greatest love story in the world; He sent His Son to die for you. God sees your heart and He wants to use you to show His love and mercy the world over. He wants to place you in locations and situations that you could barely imagine just so He can pour His grace and favour into your life. You bother God, and maybe, just maybe this is the time you need to choose Him to be at the centre of your life. 

R x

 

Hope with Habakkuk

We could all do with a little bit of hope right now. The world is unsettled and uncertain, nothing is sure and things feel a little bit hopeless. This is just how Habakkuk felt.

600BC Israel was being invaded, the fig trees did not bloom, the fruit did not grow, the crops failed, the flocks disappeared. Sound familiar? Right now we are being invaded by a virus, lives have been taken, jobs have been lost, income has stopped, food is scarce, the future uncertain.

Habakkuk had gone to God with his requests. He had watched to see what God would do, he had worked on his faith as he waited to see what God would say, and now he was faced with an answer that he hadn’t expected.

So what did Habakkuk do next? He worshipped.

His response astounds me, and challenges me. It is not easy to thank God when your prayers are unanswered. It is not easy to praise Him when your problems remains, yet this is exactly what Habakkuk did.

Yet I will celebrate in the Lord – I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my God is my strength; He makes my feet like that of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights. Habakkuk 3:18

The key to Habakkuk’s response is in the first line of this scripture; I will celebrate IN the Lord. Not when He has fixed my problems, not if He provides the miracle, not once He has removed me from the place of danger. Habakkuk celebrated IN the Lord, right where he was, with unanswered prayers and an uncertain future. Why? Because he knew God and he knew Him to be good. He knew that God had his best interests at heart.

Even though Habakkuk did not understand what God was doing,
he understood who God was.

Do we praise God even when our problems remain? Do we sing of His goodness even when we are still surrounded on all sides? Do we raise our hands even when the rain is still falling down?

God doesn’t always remove us from the mountains that we face, but in verse 19 we see that He gives us HIS strength and makes our feet surefooted like a deer and ENABLES us to walk on mountains. Have you ever seen deer on a mountain side? They look so precarious on craggy cliff edges, just a step away from a fatal fall, but they are surefooted. Why? Because they were designed to navigate this terrain and because they know the terrain.

The mountain you face right now may seem unpassable to you, but know that the God of the heavens and the earth knows every inch of this terrain. He will give you strength, He will lead you forwards and He will show you where to place your feet.

Habakkuk had confidence in God because he knew Him. Even though, still God.

The book of Habakkuk is a story of waiting and it reminds us that we are not required to be motionless while we wait. Habakkuk encourages us that we need to go to God with our prayers then do three simple things;

WATCH + WAIT  |  WORK + WAIT  |  WORSHIP + WAIT

Watch and see what God is doing, how He is weaving this into His bigger story.

Work on your faith, deepen your relationship with God and download His peace.

Worship God for He is good, and He works all things together for our good.

I don’t know where this finds you today, but I pray that you would be encouraged and equipped to keep pressing in in prayer, keep pushing forward in faith and keep praising Him in everything.

R x