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Ugly Thoughts

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

It was one of those mornings. My brain woke up well before my body did, racing away with all sorts of negative thoughts. Even in my half-comatose state, I managed to invite the Lord into my crazy swirling thought process. It didn't help; nor did the few positive scriptures and spiritual hymns I managed to recall.

The accusatory thoughts marched on. My brain pinged back and forth like those little metal balls in a pinball machine, bouncing between a multitude of conflicting thoughts in my semi-lucid state.

The alarm rang and I sat up, rubbing my tired eyes. While I claimed two things I was grateful for before my feet hit the floor, as is my habit, I didn’t feel it. My day was just starting, but I was drained, emotionally exhausted.

My sweet husband brought me my morning tea and we prayed together as usual. Yet this nagging feeling of failure, of disconnection, of fear persisted.

To give context, it had been quite a week. The water heater began leaking and needed repair. The rear car window broke (I’ve never even heard of that!) My hubby’s car needed an expensive repair to keep running. We had to contend with a slew of serious people drama that was well beyond our abilities or control.

Then, to top it off, our HVAC went out. In the middle of winter. During record low temperatures. Oh, yeah. It was going to require complete replacement. The dollar signs we were going to need to dish out were staggering. Happy New Year.

So, it was with a heavy heart that I stumbled to my office that morning. Desperate for something, anything different than my current mental state of war, I opened my Bible. And my current devotional book.

What happened next took my breath away.

As I read, I could feel the sting of tears misting my eyes. Only this time in the very best of ways. I sat back a little in awe as not just one, but both of my back-to-back readings leapt off the pages with such relevance I could hardly believe it: one was on money, the other on not giving way to fear. It was as if the Lord himself was delivering timely words of wisdom to me. Words I desperately needed to hear.

My shoulders relaxed even as I read. One of the scriptures in my devotional quoted Psalms 91, so I turned there next. Phrases like, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge,” and “You will not fear the terror of night, the arrow that flies by day,” were much-needed balm to my battle-weary soul.

As I continued reading, my thoughts finally turned a corner.

That’s right, Papa. You are good. You are right here holding my hand through all of this. You have always taken care of me, and that's not going to stop now. Thank you for reminding me once again how incredibly loving and faithful you. Always.

The anger dampens. The fear begins dissolving into faith. The reminder to reach for joy today, knowing that I’m protected, resting in the shadow of the Almighty, finally rings loudest, crowding out the negativity.

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Yes and Amen.


Psalm 91 ends with, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Read that out loud, replacing the “he” and “him” with your name. Let your brain register how much God truly loves you and holds you close--no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.

Then, read Psalms 91 and reflect on what characteristics of God’s love you needed to hear today. Let us know in the comments!


Lord, thank you that you understand how hard my days and nights can feel. You embrace my humanness and offer the ongoing reassurance I need. I have seen you protect and guide me time and time again, and I know you always will. Papa, keep my heart centered on your love and grace for me today. Amen.

To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to invite her to speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.


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