Take a Breath... and Trust

by: Loree Gaikowski: Printed in the August 3rd edition of the True Dakotan

Standing at the back of the church, you face your mom, not understanding the tears in her eyes, as she adjusts your veil. You face her, nerves and a feeling of excitement wash over you… Mom takes you in, proud of the young woman you have become, yet as she watches you walk away, her heart flutters, eyes burn as she feels a goodbye to the girl that she raised and see’s a beautiful young woman reflect the love and compassion she has raised her with... she closes her eyes, catches her breath, and mutters to herself, “everything is going to be ok. I can do this. God help me do this..” Nine months and counting…baby is almost here. Anxiously waiting in the room, the doctor enters, the routine of it all at this point almost calming. The doctor says it’s time. Suddenly your calm melts away, and you ask yourself, “how can I possibly be ready!!?” You close your eyes, control your breath, and pray... “Everything is going to be ok. God help me do this.”. Since you received the call, you’ve tried to make sense of their death, but you realize you deeply underestimated how much you simply miss them. Heart heavy, eyes burning, you walk toward the doors to the sanctuary, where you were baptized, married, and now as you hesitate before you reach for the handle, you know a final goodbye is near. You close your eyes, take a breath, and mutter to yourself, “everything is going to be ok… no.. God I don’t think I can do this.. .” Changes are hard. Faith is sometimes harder. Some of the most memorable moments of our lives, can leave us feeling lost and uncertain of where we belong. Are we doing the right thing? Why did this happen? What on earth is God’s plan in all of this? Proverbs 3: 5-6 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and not lean on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight our paths. Choosing to trust in the Lord in situations we don’t understand isn’t easy, can change the core of who we are, and our faith in the Lord in a moment. How often do you close your eyes, take a breath, and let Him straighten your path?

Where Does your Strength Come From?

By Loree Gaikowski: Printed in the August 10th edition of the True Dakotan

As you sit in your car, sweaty hands grasping the wheel, tears begin to fill your eyes, as your mind reels over the past few days. You can hear your friends say “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But as you sit there in this moment, the weight of every breath feels a struggle. You’ve been a good Christian. You go to church, you pray, you serve your community, every day you try to be the best version of yourself. Yet... you’re here, in your car, tears and anger filling your heart wondering why... Why can’t anything just go right in your life? Why is everything you do a constant struggle? Why has God forsaken you? Suddenly you feel a ping in your heart, and you ask yourself, “Am I praying for the sake of finding some control over my life? Or in my prayer, am I praying to hand over control of my life to God? Am I allowing myself to receive His love and grace? Can I even do that?! Can I let go and ask for help?” Isaiah 40 tells us God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. So often we look inside for answers to the heavy burdens, leaving ourselves feeling exhausted and weak. Sometimes, it’s difficult to look up, ask for help, handing over control to someone else. Psalm 121 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” It continues, “I The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” The question remains, with the burden of too much to handle, will you let him?