Have you ever had a kidney stone? Oh, girl, I have!
I was staying at a hotel in Destin, Florida, where I was scheduled to speak at a women’s conference the next day. As I got ready for bed, I didn’t feel too well. But, after all the travel, I just assumed that I needed a good night’s sleep and would be fine in the morning.
Boy, was I wrong!
The next morning I was in severe pain and ended up in the emergency room of the local hospital. The diagnosis? That’s right! Kidney stones.
So, instead of speaking at the conference as planned, I had surgery.
When I came out of the anesthetic, I was so discouraged by this obstacle that stood in the way of me accomplishing what I thought God had brought me there to do.
Had I really flown across the country just to be stuck in a hospital?
But I know I’m not the only one who feels discouraged by obstacles. We all face hard things where it looks like there’s no way through.
Author and speaker, Ann Voskamp, says our struggles can often feel like what the Israelites dealt with when they were hot-tailing it from the Egyptians and stuck at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:9-14). And, maybe that’s where you are today—standing in front of your own Red Sea. You may feel like there’s no way through the hard thing you face.
If so, this first-year anniversary episode of the 4:13 Podcast is for you because Ann will remind us that our obstacles can lead to greater opportunities. That’s what happened to me when I was stuck in the hospital instead of speaking at the conference.
A woman named Gloria walked into my room and, well, that’s another story for another day! But, all I can say, is that obstacle became the path for me to have a holy experience right there in that hospital room.
So, today, you’ll get inspired. My conversation with Ann will also give you practical encouragement on how to see the hard things in your life as good things.
Ann is the author of the New York Times’ best-selling books, The Broken Way, One Thousand Gifts, and The Greatest Gift. She’s a mom of seven who calls herself a “farmer’s wife.” And, in the last several years, she’s faced several heartbreaking medical issues with her children.
So, buckle up and listen in to this conversation Ann and I had as my husband, Phil, drove us to the airport after a Fresh Grounded Faith event. Ann unpacks Exodus 14:13-14 and helps you learn how to find your brave as you face the hard things in your life.
4 Ways to Face Your Red Sea
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14).
- Steady your thoughts. Ann admits that she struggles with being afraid of one day facing a situation that will be beyond the arms and the love of God. But, she says this is when she steadies her thoughts with the truth that fear is a fraud. There is nothing beyond the arms and love of God. Ann tells herself, as a friend of hers often proclaims, “My Daddy is the King of the Universe. What could I possibly be afraid of?”
You can do the same. When you face hard things, take the time to steady your thoughts. Remind yourself that fear is a liar and that your Father is the King of the Universe. There is nothing you currently face or will face in the future that is beyond His arms and His love.
- Station yourself. Ann talks about how our minds are trains. They are always going somewhere—and the devil wants to be the conductor. That’s why it’s so important that we station ourselves in Christ and in His Word. When we do, we go where we want to go. But, if we don’t station ourselves in Christ, we’ll arrive where we never wanted to arrive.
For Ann, one way she stays stationed in God’s Word is by putting Scripture up in her house. Over her desk, she’s posted a verse that reminds her who she is in Christ. Anne shares how every time she sees it, it helps her listen to the truth about who she is and not what Satan, the enemy of her soul, wants to tell her.
Like Ann, you can station yourself in God’s Word too. In addition to placing it around her house, here are other ideas Ann shares for stationing yourself in the Word:
— Read the Bible together with your family or friends during meals.
— Listen to audio recordings of Scripture while you read it to help imprint it even more on your heart.
— Ask yourself, “What have I been meditating on all day? Has it been on Scripture?”
- See a vision for the deliverance of God. Ann shares how the things that have been heartbreaking obstacles in her life are the same things God has used to draw her closer to Him. It’s been the hard things that have helped to refine her and make her more like Jesus. But, for this to happen, she’s had to stop viewing her relationship with God as transactional. She’s had to stop expecting that if she does this, then God needs to do that.
Instead, Ann says she’s come to see her relationship with God as transformational. When she gets in front of her Red Sea, she’s learning that God is going to split the waters to lead her closer to Himself. He will use whatever is in the way and make it the way to walk more like Him.
Sister, you too can change the way you view the hard things you face. Can you see your obstacle as a means of a miracle? God can use the hard thing to produce in you perseverance, humility, endurance, and a hunger for Him.
- Stand still. In Exodus 14, the Israelites are stuck between the Red Sea and the approaching Egyptians. In this situation, they are instructed to be still and let God fight for them. Ann says that God wants us to do the same when we face hard things. She talks about how difficult this can be, though. We want to try and control everything around us. But God is asking us to still our souls and allow Him to take care of the battles around us. And, when we are still, God can still be seen in us.
In whatever you face, you can determine to still your soul and surrender to God and His plans. Ann says in doing this, you communicate, “My hands are completely open, Lord, for whatever you want to do in this situation.”
Friend, no matter what hard thing you face right now, God can use it for good. Because remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Walking By Faith: Lessons I Learned in the Dark Bible Study
- Lessons I Learned in the Dark: Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight
- Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me Bible Study
More from Ann Voskamp
- Ann’s Website
- The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life
- One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
- Be the Gift: Let Your Broken Be Turned Into Abundance
- Follow Ann on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
*** You can hear from amazing women like Ann at a Fresh Grounded Faith event near you! Find an FGF in your area here.
KC and Jennifer’s Favorite Past Episodes
- Can I Get a Handle on My Negative Self-Talk? [Episode 3]
- Can I Laugh When Life Isn’t Funny? [Episode 9 with Liz Curtis Higgs]
- Jennifer Spills the Beans About Life, Faith, and Blindness [Episode 16]
- Jennifer Spills the Beans About Depression [Episode 25]
- Jennifer Spills the Beans With Phil on Love and Marriage [Episode 29 With Phil Rothschild]
- Can I Show Good Judgment Without Being Judgmental [Episode 37]
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
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What was your favorite 4:13 Podcast episode this past year?