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If you’ve been in church any length of time you’ve heard the story of Hannah.


I Samuel 1:5-6, doesn’t waste any time grabbing your attention with “ ...and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.”


Did you feel that? I mean you can’t help but empathize with Hannah.

However, Elkanah and Peninnah are a completely different story. Honestly, I wasn’t fond of either one. It was hard to get pass Elkanah having two wives and Peninnah...well, she was doing the most.

But recently, I took another look at I Samuel and the Lord revealed something that I hadn’t noticed.


The whole family had a common thread, other than marriage. They were all dealing with frustration. Webster describes it as a “feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.”

We’ve all experienced it. Right? Frustration arises when you’re constantly passed over for a promotion. It takes a seat in your soul when you think you should be further along, have more money or live in a bigger house. And it presses in hard when your marriage and children are far from what you hoped or wanted.

Frustration has a way of finding us and Elkanah’s household was no exception.


Hannah was Elkanah’s first wife. And, after years of not being able to have a child, Elkanah married Peninnah to sort of help the process along.

Peninnah was frustrated because, even after having several children, she had not won Elkanah’s heart. - I Samuel 1:4-5

And, Elkanah was in the house with one woman that was angry and another one that was grieving. not the best situation


In the midst of all of this, Hannah displayed tremendous grace and gives us some insight on how to overcome frustration.


 

Don’t React


Google says, “A reaction is typically quick, without much thought, tense and aggressive.”

On the other hand, “A response is thought out, calm and non-threatening.”


To be completely transparent, I’ve done a lot more reacting than responding. However, the scripture doesn't even hint to the fact that Hannah reacted to Peninnah's tauntings.

In spite of her circumstances, Hannah didn’t loose control or relinquish her peace.


Yeah, it's easy to fly off the handle when we’re frustrated. But that only feeds the situation. And you and I both know that once you've calmed down, you have a hot mess to try to clean up.


Proverbs 29:11 gives us the real deal on reacting, - "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." just say amen or ouch



Reposition


Now you might not be able to physically change your position or separate yourself from the thing or person that is causing you to be frustrated. But, you can redirect your focus and set your attention on the Lord. - Isaiah 50: 7


Take a look at what Hannah did in I Samuel 1:9. "Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house."


Hannah got up, left the dinner table and went to the temple to pray. She put her miracle in motion by changing her position.


Thankfully, we don't have to wait until we get to church to meet with God. We are blessed to freely commune with him no matter where we are. Our closets, cars, bathrooms, or even the beach can become a sanctuary. God doesn’t just allow us to come to him. He invites us to come. And we can trust him to help in our time of need. - Psalm 46:1



Put It Where It Belongs


For some odd reason, we try to figure out our problems and bear the weight of every situation. Can I just tell you that God doesn't want us to live under that kind of pressure? It's too much.


Recently I was reading Morning Manna For Your Day and the question "What areas of your life do you need to bring under His authority?" stopped me in my tracks. I realized that I was frustrated and upset about things that were not even mine to carry.


My friend, God wants us to place every situation, every disappointment and every frustration underneath His authority. That's where it belongs.


I pray that your today and all of your tomorrows will be filled with countless blessings. But just in case frustration makes a surprise visit, remember that you don’t have to simply deal with it or endure it. You can overcome it like Hannah and walk in freedom and victory.



Your Sister Friend,

Sandra



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Updated: Sep 2, 2020



“I want to be on the track team.” This statement didn’t come as a surprise. After all, as a toddler Bayley had already conducted several unofficial track meets in Walmart, on a cruise ship and the mall.

As it turned out, the prerequisite for running track was joining the cross country team. After the first practice, Bayley looked as if she had gone down a few times in a dunking booth. Resisting the urge to be too much of a helicopter Mom. I asked, “Is this something that you still want to do?” secretly hoping she would say no

Her response was “Yes, I’m just tired.”

And so, it started.

Practice after practice, early Saturday morning meets, traveling down backroads that had backroads before the sun crossed over the horizon was our routine.

The meets would start out with all of the runners in an open field as we cheered on the side lines. At the sound of the gun, they would take off and make a turn into the woods. Bayley told me, “there’s everything in the woods.....snakes, deer, we’re jumping over bottles...everything!” While she was talking, I appeared perfectly calm. But on the inside, a “come apart” was in full effect.

In spite of starting each meet strong and dashing towards the finish line, her time just wasn’t improving.

At one meet as we were waiting for Bayley, Frank suddenly disappeared. Not too long afterwards, I saw her sprinting towards the finish line.


When I finally saw Frank, I told him that he should have seen how fast Bayley was running. He said, “I know. I went up to those woods and saw her walking .... and yelled “Bayley! Get out of those woods!”

 

It's Not Our Destination


You might not be on a cross country team but, we’re all running our own race. And whether we like it or not, circumstances, losses and tragedies can force us into the woods. The trees and untamed shrubs of depression and fear have a way of overwhelming us. They cause our once vibrant gait to slow down to barely placing one foot in front of the other.


It happens. But, God doesn’t want us to stay in this state. It’s not our destination. Instead, let your faith take the lead. Trust that "...He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” - Philippians 1:6 God is bigger than whatever tries to confine you to the woods.



Even though it seems like you’re alone in your situation, you are not. One of my favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT - “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”


This scripture makes me feel happy all over. It reminds me that God is aware and has every step of our journey covered. Just keep reminding yourself that you are not alone.


They’re Waiting


Some of my time trying to catch a glimpse of the runners was spent watching the clock and chatting with Moms. But, mostly I prayed. And, no matter how long it took my girl to cross the finish line, I waited.


Did you know that there are people waiting and praying for you? They want you to win. They’re waiting for God to show himself strong in your life. Seeing you win is just the motivation they need to keep going. So my dear, pick up your pace and get out of those woods! Your destiny is waiting on you.


Your Sister Friend,

Sandra







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Pine trees, grass and a whole lot of pollen are some of the perks of springtime in the South. And accompanying the blooming flowers are the dreaded allergies. Just between you and me, I believe they’re agents of the devil

Normally grabbing an over the counter antihistamine does the job in getting rid of the symptoms. But not this time.

The meds were mere light weights compared to my incessant sneezing and stuffy nose. And on a scale from one to ten, my itchy eyes, ears, throat, arms, and hands were a twelve! sigh


I thought I had it bad .... until my scalp became inflamed and formed blisters. The center of my head itched, bled and oozed... I hope you’re not eating

My previous symptoms were nothing compared to this. One, five, ten....fourteen days passed without being able to sleep at night. I prayed, listened to scripture, confessed scriptures on healing and asked my friends to pray. I went to the doctor, the dermatologist and a nutritionist but, I wasn’t getting better. Lord have mercy

Finally, my friend suggested that I go to an allergist. By this time, my arms and hands looked as if they were severely burned. Plus, I was on the second or was it the third steroid eye drop. And my hair well...it felt like a Brillo Pad and had started to disappear. Now I don’t mean just breaking off. I was going bald! I was already physically sick. Loosing my hair made me emotionally ill.


The doctor discovered that there was a long list of things that were causing my reaction. But it seemed that the main culprit was Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) don’t ask me to pronounce it - a chemical found in permanent hair dye. I was using a little rinse to cover up the silver dew that was taking up residence in my hair.


It was a nightmare that had been ongoing for months. I was ready to hear whatever God had to say. so I thought

 

Eventually, I gathered my courage and got my hair cut. It was short or more like shaved. And I did. not. like. it. So, I did the next natural thing. I got a wig.


And then God dropped a question right on top of me. Why are you hiding what I’m taking you through? whew

The conversation continued .... “Everybody I blessed in scripture, I put their problems on display. David was running from Saul, Mary was pregnant prior to marriage, Joseph was in jail and Daniel was in a lion’s den....so why are you hiding?” And, if that wasn’t enough, the next question came rushing in like a flood. “Why did you put your confidence in something that was temporal?”


Truth moment. I was hiding because I was embarrassed, uncomfortable, had never seen myself without hair. And, I didn’t want to face harsh comments. you know people let the most mindless things fly out of their mouths.

The putting confidence in temporal things part? I guess I had just wandered over into crazy land. Lord thank you for coming to get me


The underlying answer to both questions was pride. Webster describes it as - “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements; to be especially proud of a particular quality or skill.” “one’s own achievement“??? - I know I knew better


I would have appreciated it if God had gotten my attention in a different way. But, I have to admit that his was way more effective.


My health issues made me vulnerable. They caused me to seek God. And, I became more transparent and open to whatever he wanted to change. While I was readjusting my crown, God was rearranging my heart. - Psalm 139:23-24

God already knew the answers to the questions he was asking. He wanted me to know.


So did my hair grow back? Thankfully it did. But, I decided to keep it short. It's less of a fuss and more importantly, it's a reminder that I went through something but, God brought me out. It's a part of my testimony.

 

Are you overly consumed with your career, gifts, talents, status, relationships, possessions, friends or family? Is it possible that you’re placing more emphasis on the creation instead of the creator? If the answer is yes, try setting aside some quiet time and allow God to make a few adjustments. I can’t say that you’ll be happy with the process but, you’ll love the outcome.



Your Sister Friend,

Sandra







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