This week I was talking with a friend of mine when she reminded me of teaching, I had done at her church concerning atmospheres. She shared with me how the people there still remembered that teaching and how they were using it to make sure the atmosphere was correct around them. I love that! I love when we can make an impact in someone else’s life…a lasting one.
For the past few days, I have spent more time in praise and worship than I have in some time. This morning, as I was worshipping God, I could feel how different the atmosphere was surrounding me and throughout my home. For that I am so very thankful.
This year has been hard. It seems the battles rage on and on. When you are fighting to stay afloat, it is not always easy to keep an atmosphere of peace and joy in your home. Not easy, but it is possible with God.
As I was thanking God for this wonderful atmosphere of His presence, I was reminded of a time when it wasn’t so. The atmosphere of peace had left my home and I was the last to know. A few years ago, my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had with a friend she had met in ministry.
She shared how she told her about the few years I once went through when my dad died of cancer, then Jesse, my nephew who was more like a little brother, went to be the Lord and then one year later my sister passed away in her sleep. During that same time, I was battling issues with my little grandson as well as my business and marriage. As Breanne relayed my story, the woman asked, “How in the world do you continue to minister during times like that?”
Breanne responded, “I love to listen to my mom minister, and I can tell you, the best teachings she did were during those times, the most anointed messages came out of those times.” This blessed this mom’s heart more than words can say. However, the next thing she shared broke my heart in a million little pieces that day.
She went on to tell this new friend that while I had continued to minister successfully, personally the challenges had taken a toll. “You would have to know my mom” Breanne shared, “She cultivates peace in her home. She plays worship music continually. She also prays and worships daily in her home. When you walk in her door, peace engulfs you, you literally walk into it.”
“But” she continued “When she was going through that season, when you walked in her door, it was not peace that greeted you, it was something heavy and oppressive.”
Oh, my goodness, how that broke my heart. I did not realize the atmosphere I allowed when I permitted the darkness of that season to linger.
I knew I was hurting. I knew I was grieving. I realized I was daily fighting for peace. It was obvious to me that I was fighting depression. What I didn’t realize was the atmosphere I was allowing to dominate my home. It was coming from a place of overwhelming grief and disappointment, I knew that. I didn’t know, however, that it was affecting those around me.
Isaiah 60:1 in the Amplified Bible says, “Arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life! Shine, be radiant with the glory of the Lord, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”
We hear this scripture quoted all the time. It sounds wonderful. Yet, it is not always easy to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept you. I, as a seasoned minister, battled this for nine months. Just when I thought I had come out of the darkness of losing my dad and Jesse, my sister died unexpectedly. It was hard beyond words.
Frankly, I thought I was still cultivating peace in my home during that time, I did not realize the depth of the darkness that was attempting to overtake me. Thank God that when it is darkest, God, Himself, is our light. Thank God that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, HE IS WITH US!
Recently, a close friend had a loved one go home to be with the Lord. She has been on my mind day after day. I have continued to pray for her. I know she will hurt, and I know she will grieve but I have wanted to caution her. I want to tell her, “Be careful what you feed your spirit, especially during this time.” I want to say to her, “Be careful to not allow darkness to overtake you.” I want to tell her to worship and praise God daily. To allow peace to dominate her mind and home.
I have found if you allow the darkness to remain, it is difficult to come out of it. And it doesn’t have to be that way. The first Sunday after we buried my Dad. I sat in church, doing all I could to keep from having a meltdown during praise and worship.
As I listened to the music, God quietly whispered, “Am I still God?” I replied, “Of course you are.” He then asked, “Am I still your God?” With tears running down my face, I responded, “Yes, you are still my God.” He then said, “Then go up front and dance before me.”
It was the longest walk I have ever made, the hardest thing I had ever done. I made my way to the front of that church, and I danced before the Lord. That very moment, He broke all grief off me. To this day, I have never grieved my Dad again.
Even as I write this, I don’t know why I didn’t remember the powerful instruction God had given me when Jesse and Tanya passed away. The hurt was so deep, and they both left so suddenly. I didn’t remember what God had taught me with my dad. Worship and praise will break the spirit of grief and it will break the power of darkness. Worship and praise, especially praise, will absolutely destroy the spirit of grief.
Friends, we all go through dark seasons, but they we don’t have to let them define us.
Sometimes all we can do is keep walking. Today, I wish I had walked through it better, but I didn’t. I have, however, come out on the other side with much more wisdom and revelation. I have come out on the other side with more love and compassion. And I have come out on the other side with more faith and trust in God than ever before.
Most people, even those closest to me, have no idea how difficult it was for me. I continued to minister. I continued to write and encourage others each day. God’s faithfulness was amazing…He truly is near the broken hearted. What do I want you to get from this? Guard the atmosphere around you.
Fight to cultivate an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Purpose in your heart to surround yourself with faith and trust in God. We are not the only ones affected by the atmosphere that surrounds us…it may touch all those who are near and dear to us.
Whatever you are walking through today, don’t allow darkness to remain, remember, we create the atmosphere that dominates our home.
Don’t allow unbelief to overtake you. Don’t allow grief to linger, yes, we all grieve, but we can’t allow it to remain. Refuse to let fear reign in your life. Feed your spirit daily. Praise and worship God every chance you get. Confess His Word over your life. Ask God to help you to arise and shine. He will help you. I know this for certain because He did it for me.