They say that there are 62 lego pieces for every one person on the planet.

And I’m thinking that with that thrifted rubbermaid tub found at the Sally Ann, this house has several thousand over that ratio.

There are legos across the basement floor and under the boys’ bed and scattered ones abandoned in the bottom of drawers, remnants of pockets and dreams.

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There are paint cans in the garage and a heap of laundry settling sandy in the mudroom and towers of books to plan through, for a new year of fresh learning, a new forging into unknown spaces, and there all these calendar squares crowding, like a stacking, like a piling, like everything running hard into each other.

They say that there are real people who get up early and pull on running shoes and do just that, run, run down to the corner and turn and keep going until the sweat beads like a fiery crowning and their lungs heave till they might actually explode and it’s possible to feel like this is really the exercise of your life.

I had told my mother that once:

Your whole life can feel like you are running for your very life, like you are trying to outrun a tsunami of stress.

Trying to stay ahead of everything that’s nipping hard at your heels. Whole decades can be marked by exhaustion.

The pastor had preached it and I had sat there between the Farmer and the kids and tried to keep my mind focused on the words and not the whirl of to-do lists in my head. He had had us stand and recite Psalm 23. Had us say it right out loud: Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue all the days of my life.

He said that you can think goodness and mercy just follow you, but the Hebrew word for ‘follow’ is radaph’ and it means to “to pursue, to run after, to chase” or, quite literally, “to hunt you down.” The word radaph, that one that goodness and mercy is doing in Ps. 23:6, it is first found in Genesis 14, when Abram discovers that his nephew Lot has been kidnapped and Abram gathers an army of 318 men and “pursued them unto Dan” (Genesis 14:14). The word ‘pursued’ there? It is ‘radaph’.

I come home from Sunday sermon and write it in white on the blackboard. Radaph!

Chased!

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And I can feel it, how when a new week starts to run after me, the goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately. It’s what I keep thinking, picking up lost legos, errant books — like how my mama used to dash off the front porch and run down the lane after me, waving about whatever book I forgot for school — and who else is behind a forgetful, rat-race world but the chasing God?

God is so bent on blessing, He chases.

God’s not out to get you — He’s out to give to you.

And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily but relentlessly. It’s right there in His Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days — but all the days of my life. When I’m in a wilderness, His mercy and goodness run after me. When I’m hurting, His grace hunts for me. When I’m plagued by problems, His goodness pursues me.

No matter where I go, He has his two blessing men right there in hot pursuit: goodness and mercy, and no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.

Even the discipline of the Lord can be a grace of the Lord and all the interruptions of a day can be the intercessions of Christ.

I whisper it to myself when it’s noon on the first day of the week and everything is closing in on me and I am already behind:

Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.

And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.

I can breathe deeper. I could smile. I don’t have feel anything pressing on my chest — I could live relieved. Like I can re-live.

Because the real truth is: God wants to bless more than we want to be to be blessed. So why run from whatever God is giving? It’s only got to be for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.

We don’t live in pursuit of a better life it’s the blessed life that’s in pursuit of us.

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It’s there on the counter, that open journal where I count gifts, and it may feel like I’m looking for goodness and mercy, but it’s grace and mercy that finds me. No one chases grace — but grace chases everyone.

I feel like a happy fool making lunch in the kitchen, piano notes banging loud in the basement, washing machine humming too, and I am laughing over nothing, over everything, over joy, a love like this. Radaph on the wall, goodness and mercy everywhere —

And nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.

No matter when you look over your shoulder, that’s what you find: God’s blessings overtaking you. No matter what a day, a life, looks like, this is what it all stacks up to for every person on the planet: We are all chased by grace.

No matter what is hounding, the Hound of Heaven is closer — His warm breath of blessing right there on the nape of my neck.

And in the kitchen, with the timer beeping — I reach over, kiss a boy smack on the forehead, the world full of His goodness and mercy and Glory —

and I am slowed and I turn right around.

 

Q4U: What’s the one thing that is most overwhelming you? What’s one thing that has most helped you when feeling overwhelmed?  

Will you join in the conversation here? (Email and RSS Readers — come join the conversation here?)

 

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  • http://www.kellierogers.blogspot.com Kellie

    This made my Thursday. Chased by His goodness and mercy. Surely that will carry me through.

    • Dee

      What’s overwhelming me today? That’s easy…my mother’s illness. Seeing her in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s is breaking my heart. I’ve read 1000 Gifts, I try counting, I know all the answers, but I’m losing the battle.

      • Karen Brockman

        Ahh, Dee, we are in the same boat. I have been counseling with a wise coach and talking to God to help me gain a clearer perspective on this season of my life with my mother. It is OFTEN overwhelming. I will lift you up in prayer for you to find the peace of God during this most overwhelming and difficult season. I’m right there with you, sister!

        • Dee

          Thanks Karen!

        • Jennie Lee

          I lost my Mother to Alzheimer’s in January. The month’s leading up to January were horrible. I am numb. I haven’t been able to cry or grieve. So, I understand the battle you are going through.

        • Lisa A

          Dee and Karen,

          I am there, too. This rocky, swaying boat. Some days she seems “in there,” connected somehow. Other days, I’m stunned that she doesn’t remember THAT thing…. or who……..or how….or when…..at all. Praying for our mothers, for us, for the peace that passes our weak grasp at understanding.

      • Karne

        Then, let me (us) help you in the battle, Dee…that is why we are here!
        I will pray. Often.
        Learn to rest in God’s promises through the valley. And most of what He is teaching me is to praise Him in the battle. It is not easy, but oh so worth it.
        I am sorry for your loss.
        I might be facing the same battle soon.
        And, then, you can help me through…

        • Dee

          It’s always comforting to know we are not alone in the battle! I will pray for you girls too, and Jennie, I am so sorry for your loss.

          • Nancy

            I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s June 2008. She was so full of life and one blessing I had was that before she had to move to assisted living she made the comment (because she knew she was losing more of her independence) “I have had a good life”. Things like that I had to cling to through the ensuing years where little by little I lost the mother that raised me. When she passed I was surprised at how much I missed the little bit of her that was still apart from the disease and then I believe God whispered to me, now she is free to live again. All through those years leading to that day with all the decisions that were mine alone (as an only child) I learned to trust that God was in control and more powerful than any decision I had to make. I pray that God’s presence, strength, and comfort surround all who are now enduring watching a love one endure this disease and all of those who have said “until we meet again” before they really wanted to.

      • karen

        Dee, I feel your sadness. From your words and from my own experience. It is so very hard I know. Our mother’s are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. As a daughter, you are now the one hurting when she’s hurt, just as she used to hurt when you were younger and hurting. The emotional connection with our mothers is something special and unique. Jesus is feeling everything right along with you. He is with us always, and He never let’s us carry our cross alone. Believe me please, one day this terrible sorrow will be replaced with any even deeper, pure, and everlasting love between you and your mother like you’ve never known. It will be the love of God, shared in a special indescribable way between you and your mother. I like to think of it as sharing heaven and earth with mine. It’s a love that never dies. It grows more beautifully and wonderfully with every thought or whisper between you. I will say a prayer for you dear Dee. Peace & blessings to you always.

      • Eva

        Dear Dee, I know exactly what you are going through. We have my father in law with dementia and to top it off my mother in law who was his caregiver died within 3 weeks last April. I never thought we could get through it… BUT WE DID and still are. I cared for him for 3 months in my home and could not take the load as I have two little ones. We found a great home for him to be taken care of. It is hard to see him like that but the truth is we cannot change the illness. We can just be compassionate. I started to feel better when I allowed myself to step back and care for myself again… this was overtaking my whole life and my soul. Step back if you can… just for a day, maybe two, maybe three… what ever you need to recharge. Then do not try to change what is happening, we have no control over this. I hope you find peace.

        • Dee

          You girls are the best REALLY! I am a nurse and at one time I cared for both my parents in our home. My dad has been gone for 5 years now and my mom has been in a nursing home for 4. I struggle with guilt because I wish I could bring her home, but she has to be watched constantly, and financially there is just no way. There are only 2 Alzheimer’s special care units near us and she is in the better of the 2. The care is not what it should be. I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle when I am constantly addressing issues. Thank you all for being here and letting me unload on you today! :) I’m really not a basket case all the time! :)

          • http://www.behindthegateblog.com/ Gayle

            Ah Dee…I am in the same place. Another nurse, a broken hearted daughter that is slowly watching someone leave, and yet still here. Angry at times and grieving that I can’t make all this as perfect as I want, and having to accept that I have done the best I can. Sometimes for me it is the practical things that are hard, balancing two sets of budgets, moving money from one account to the other to pay the rent in the facility, taxes, papers to sign… It is always with us, the details, the heartbreak, the little things that keep us overwhelmed. It never leaves when you are watching someone you love slowly slip from you. I am at the end of this journey I suspect, perhaps in the last year. We’ve been there for 8 years. Yesterday I read the scripture, “He daily bears our burdens”. I think we have to do this one day at time. And daily bring the burdens to God… May goodness and grace chase after us.

      • Beth WIlliams

        Dee,

        Prayers for you as you watch and care for your mother. I was in the same boat as you are.

        While my mom did not have Alzheimer’s she did have dementia and sundowner’s. For 2 years she was confined to her bed. My dad had to care for her 24/7. They were both in their 80s. Finally death succumbed her. What a relief. Do I miss her–yes! Relieved that she is no longer in pain and dad can care for himself now.

        Father God,

        Please give Dee the strength and courage she needs to deal with her mother’s illness. Shower her with peace and grace to carry on daily!

        AMEN!

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Ann,
    I am so glad that I am not merely being followed by a loving God, but that I am being chased…hunted down and tackled with His goodness and mercy. I also praise God that His love is not only gentle, but it is furious. He chases and He loves us with an intensity that is beyond our comprehension. We all long to be loved and pursued…alas, we are! Thank you for this beautiful reminder this morning!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Love that is gentle and also furious! Beautiful words — yes, yes, Bev!! Giving thanks to our God who wildly loves us! And He can and does and will redeem everything — for all is grace! Staggering grace!

  • http://unfadinggrace.blogspot.com Katie Shannon

    Oh this is a good one Ann!! Thanks for these words.

  • Rebekah Taylor

    Thank you so much for this, for these reminders when the day is hard or you just don’t feel good enough. It’s exactly what God has me mulling over at the moment – that I don’t have to strive so hard to find Him, exhausting myself with wanting and guilt, but I just have to lean back on his grace and love. Thank you x

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      YES, Rebekah. So with you — and remembering nothing we can do can will make Him love us more — astonishing grace! May we never get over it!

  • Karen

    THANKFUL that I am being chased today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Yes, Karen! And always by His grace alone! :) Thank you, Lord … thank you, Lord.

  • Mollianne

    ‘And grace isn’t what makes us feel good; grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.’ Oh, my heart! This?! This is what I needed today. It really isn’t about feeling good…it is about being more like the Master! Thank you!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Yes, Mollianne! More like Jesus! Press on sister — let nothing stealing your joy or thanksgiving today! All is grace!

  • http://carmelmoments.com Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    So thankful that he passionately yet patiently pursues. Oh where would I be without his love???
    Thankful that even in my lows, he chases me and cares for me.
    So blessed!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Oh, Melanie? Just the thought of it? Thankful with you … lays this sister right low.

  • Cathy Stanfield

    To be chased, for love, oh my, so thankful.

  • http://www.thechuppies.com Kara @ The Chuppies

    Thank you for this Ann…
    I just read my to-do-life-novel for today and was starting to swirl into…. overwhelmed.
    This was a needed pause and reminder.

    It also reminded me of a CS Lewis poem God used in my life to help me understand salvation and His pursuit.

    “Leaving the forests where you are pursued in vain
    –Often a mere gleam–I turned instead
    To the appointed place where you pursue.”
    ~No Beauty We Could Desire

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Ah, yes! So grateful for this — for you today, Kara — for taking just a moment to share this truth with us. Can’t thank you enough…

  • http://www.hollybarrett.org Holly Barrett

    This –> “God’s not out to get you — He’s out to give to you.” Whew! I’m overwhelmed sometimes by the place He has put me and the hours He has given me because that now means I have to do what He’s asked of me. These words today helped me not feel so overwhelmed!

  • http://www.ahouseandyard.com Calista

    In our Moms to Moms group last night, we discussed the urge to escape. Running from the mundane, the loneliness, the big-ness (and the seeming little-ness) of what we have to do everyday. We settled on the fact that the urge to escape isn’t wrong, it’s what we do with the urge that counts. I could have used this devo last night. Radaph. Maybe if we’d stop planning our escape route, His grace and mercy could catch up and we’d find we had what we needed all along. God is faithful to provide.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Calista! Smiling tears. Your words? …’we had what we needed all along’, oh yes. He provides! He is faithful! He chases! Thanking Jesus for the crazy, unexpected grace of this Truth.

    • http://longlivebeauty.wordpress.com Haylie

      Wow, Calista. I’m so there with you. “Maybe if we’d stop planning our escape route… we’d find we had what we needed all along.” Amen! It’s amazing how we can fill up on the joy from truths like these at times, and then other times we’re clenched up, eyes shut tight, too afraid to really receive it- and receive peace. For me, it’s like when you catch the flu or something- sometimes it’s only for 24 hours, but the worry sickness makes you feel so wretched when you let it in! Praying that today, we can bask in the light and His gifts, and let goodness and mercy catch up. Thanks for your words- it’s always so good to know I’m not alone!!

  • http://www.thewordweaver.com Deb Weaver

    Overwhelmed with grief over my Dad’s death in the past month, this was a timely, precious reminder that mixed in heavily with all this grief and tumultuous emotion is God’s grace and love and mercy. He will overwhelm me with who He is.

    Deb Weaver

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      …can I just quietly reach over and give you the longest hug, Deb? He holds you…with abiding, unwavering love, sister.

  • http://motheringfromscratch.com Mothering From Scratch

    {Kathy} I have literally been chased by Grace — my daughter’s name is such. So I keep that image in my mind of how God pursues us. He nips at our heels until we can no longer ignore Him. Until we give Him enough attention to soothe our own souls.
    Thank you for the encouragement.

  • http://www.christyfitzwater.com Christy Fitzwater

    Dear Ann, I started a new job this last fall, lost my father a few weeks ago, and am planning a wedding for my firstborn which is (gasp) 74 days away. I woke up with such a knot of stress in my stomach this morning, and your words just poured into the cracks of my weary soul. Yes, goodness and mercy. Even today I cannot escape them.

    And I would like to say that every day your beautiful photos are a part of that grace I receive from the Lord. Even if I don’t have time to read your words, your pictures are always a soothing loveliness. I thank God for the grace he pours through spirit to mine. May God strengthen your writing hand to keep going!

    Much love,
    Christy Fitzwater, a Montana girl

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Your Jesus-sisters all whisper it into your weary places today, Christy: You are soul beautiful and wildly loved! Yes! You are so right — we cannot escape His goodness and mercy! How many times a day do we murmur: “Thank you, Lord…Thank you, Lord.” May we do so even more…

  • http://www.faith2shine.com Brandi

    “God is so bent on blessing He chases.”
    Ann, your words are testimony to the invisible hand of God. Thank You!! As I emerge from a season of soul trial I look back and see it now- His relentless pursuit, His passionate unwillingness to overlook- it awes me!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      OH! How it awes me as well, Brandi! Every. time. friend! I am with you, heart leaning hard into Him and His incomprehensible love!

  • Madeleine

    As women we want to be desired and fruitful. Knowing that the Lord who created the universe and gives Himself to us each day in so many ways, is actually chasing us in love is amazing. It is so easy to go through life on auto pilot and not see the truth, goodness, and beauty around us every day. God’s unquenchable desire for each of us is more than we can understand, but it is something we are invited to simply accept. I pray that each of us can do that today.
    When I am overwhelmed with family, work, or school, remembering that God loves me in the midst of the mess changes the whole picture.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      And nodding my head, yes — yes — yes. To simply accept that He loves in the midst of. it. all. *Thank you*, Madeleine! Praying this today as well, friend.

  • Debbie

    I so needed to hear this! Thank you and God Bless

  • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

    On October 4, 1981, I wrote “In pursuit…” on the flyleaf of my Bible. I think I had just read Tozer’s “In Pursuit of God.” And of course, it was a vision of me chasing after Him. But this… the reminder that He chases me is a relief–a re-leaf (to pull an Annism ;) ) … a greening in my brittle spirit, in the overwhelming of this last week. If He’s chasing me, and I’m turned chasing Him… what a holy collision!

    When I’m overwhelmed with the to-do and whatever the current crisis (my son’s marriage is floundering, and he’s suffering), I need to slip on my cone of stillness and just sit… wait for God to catch me.

    • linda

      Oh, I so understand your pain as a mama. My daughter is going through the same thing, left with 3 small, spunky little ones. Such pain…and I find myself seeming to wallow in the mire of it all…I know that is not where God is glorified, and He is teaching me to focus on Him, not the storm. Such a beautiful truth, but often so hard to do as the one who seeks to destroy and devour keeps remininding me of the hurt and I fret. May we rest in the Faithful One Who loves us so, and chases us to bless us!

      • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

        Ah yes, friend. It’s all about our focus and remembering that when He heals the broken, it becomes stronger. And we can thank Him in the midst of it all knowing that He’s in control, and we’re not. Peace, be still. Lifting a prayer for you and your daughter and son-in-law and those sweet babies right now.

  • http://www.agirlonthedoorstep.com Jennifer

    I love every moment of “the grace chase.” He pursues us to give us blessings beyond measure, which lie deep within the hidden treasures of who He is. As always, your words are beautiful today and cause us to think outside the dirty dishes and laundry! Thank you:).

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      yeah, me too. Thinking outside the dishes and laundry with you, Jennifer. :) For there is no greater Love! ‘O Lord my God, I take refuge in you’! :)

  • https://stonetoheart.blogspot.ca Tonya

    Papers and words are overwhelming me. 6000 of them to be precise for school and lately I’ve wanted to lay my head down in the library and cry. And then God shows up, I mean He is always there, but He comes with Voxer message from a friend that oozes (in)couragement ;), or the Prof that cancels an evening class because of snow, or the moments with my family and how they cheer me on… Time and time again this week His relentless pursuit has me breathing in grace… Thank you for these words today, Ann

  • http://www.patstanton.org Patti Chriestenson

    I just smiled as I read your article and related to your photos and your lego sample! Thank you for writing in such a way that your readers can find you and relate!

    The one thing that is most overwhelming me is making the right decisions regarding every little thing and every BIG thing on my To-do List! The only way an item gets marked off is for it to be completed. And this means, yes, I must make a decision whether it’s right or wrong.

    The one thing that has most helped me when feeling overwhelmed while making decisions is to pause, seek, and wait for His peace. If I don’t feel right about a decision, it may appear I’m just procrastinating, but I’ve found that if I keep doing research or keep seeking for the best answer then I gain more knowledge and understanding and am best able to make a good decision.

    I’ve learned that turmoil is not always a bad thing. It may be the indicator button that’s flashing “red” saying, “STOP!”. So when I slam on the brakes I realize whoa – I was just getting ready to make a decision that wouldn’t have been the best choice for me and my family. I think it’s during these moments of feeling overwhelmed that rather than running and hiding, I’ve found myself “staying” and leaning into the Lord and His strength and ability to help me finish my task and make my decisions.

    • Erica

      Patti,
      I just wanted to thank-you for writing this. My husband and I have used this way of making decisions and I could so relate. I am still in the process of learning that sometimes during turmoil we have to press through and sometimes it’s a red light – STOP! Thank-you for articulating what I think is a really great way to make the right informed decision. Blessings to you!

  • http://www.missindeedy.com Missy

    That I am chased! That thought is exactly what this mama’s head AND heart needed. As I pick up, not Legos, but shreds of cardboard – by the heaping handfuls – all. day. long… God still relentlessly pursues me. As I rail against the Still To Do’s, I can remember that even if I’m too busy to see Him, He still sees me.

    I’m overwhelmed by my responsibility to mother a child with needs beyond my ability to provide. But, remembering that the God who created Him is the same God who makes me able, just for today, is what powers me through. And for that days that I want to lay across the bed and just escape, RADAPH! Oh, how He still does!

    Thank you Ann!

  • http://www.prismwoman.blogspot.com Savannah

    Thank you so much for these sweet words this morning. I’ve been running and filling up the calendar and find myself wondering “For what?” Then, I read this. Wow. He is chasing me, hunting me down, to meet me and love me and bless me right where I am – overwhelmed and tired. Thank you, Lord, that you are never too busy to hunt me down. Thank you, Ann, for being open to sharing His words.

  • Charlotte McFadden

    I really needed this especially today. And God put your beautiful post right there for me to read. Thank you. Is lovely.

  • http://freedtofly.wordpress.com Trudy

    Thank you so much for this encouragement, Ann. I tend to forget how God wants so much to bless me that He pursues me. That He hunts me down in whatever situation I am in, even when I’m running away from His blessings. He has a passion to love and prosper me, not to harm me. Fear can overwhelm me sometimes – so afraid of trusting. I love this – “God’s not out to get you — He’s out to give to you.” And “nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.” Beautiful.

  • dale strickland

    Thank you!

  • http://allergylane.blogspot.com Jennifer Stohr

    Thank you for these beautiful and oh so very much needed words today. They touch me on do very many levels. Literally seconds before I read this I had the overwhelming urge to shrug off my To Do list, lace up my running shoes, and run TO God. Your words have soothed me for the moment. Today I’m overwhelmed with making enough food to last three days as my husband and I take a business trip tomorrow. I’m stressed about the allergic reactions that two of my kids were having last night and this morning. I’m very concerned about the possibility that my 7 year old daughter may have juvenile cataracts, and the stress of having her eyes dilated next week to find out (she has four dozen severe allergies which will come into play). I’m already overwhelmed by the worry of my kids going on an out of state vacation with their father the last week of the month….

  • http://www.jacquewatkins.com Jacque Watkins

    Loved hearing this in September and loved reading it here too. And you know what I love most of all? To remember that in every moment His mercy finds me and His grace is ever chasing me and I am at peace with Him because He makes it so. Love you..

  • Penny

    Thank-you Ann for so beautifully reminding us of that pursuit…

    Penny

  • Kathy

    It is so true that our God is relentless in pursuing us to give His blessing. If we understood this in the midst of our trials and conflicts, we would be awaiting His blessing with peace in our spirit. I feel overwhelmed by the health concerns for my husband. Worrying will not bring him comfort but resting in the peace of the Lord Jesus will calm him and give him hope that does not disappoint.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Hope that does not disappoint! Yes, Kathy! Praying for your husband just now with you, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 He’s got you, sister.

  • Karen

    Thank you, Ann!! Just reading this today was evidence of God’s chasing me! I have a son with behavior and Obsessive/ compulsive issues. I am so overwhelmed at times! Everyday there are issues to tackle and I find my heart racing when I lay down at night! I’ve felt too tired to pray more than “Jesus” sometimes. I needed to be reminded that I don’t have to strive for God to be near me and lavish me with his grace! I simply need to stop and bask in it!!!

  • http://www.alismithtx.com Ali

    I am most frequently overwhelmed by my desire for things to be perfect and put together. The person most responsible for pressure and stress in my life is me. In James 1:4 I find comfort and strength, “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Perfection and Completion are found by relying on God, not by being dependent on myself and my strength.

  • Johanna Fenton

    For a long time – and until recently – it was the shadow of death that was chasing me, overwhelming me. So I very much appreciated your line:

    “no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.”

    This is true. The shadow of death did reach me, and God whispered to me, “This is a gracious gift.” And it was. Because in the shadow of death I discovered the shadow of his rod and his staff – they comfort me.

  • http://ainesahm.blogspot.com Anne

    I am overwhelmed by:
    Feeling out of my depth with parenting my 9 and 11 year olds…to the point where I wonder if I should ever have decided to be a parent. (First time typing this out loud…).
    Feeling overwhelmed by being a married solo parent because my husband travels for work…frequently…more frequently than I and the children would like, and more frequently than I/we had been told for this job.
    Both of these things lead me to be sinking in the waves more often than I’d care to admit…and reaching out for Jesus in what feels like too late in the game. My gut instinct when I’m overwhelmed with anything is to run away, or at least feel the pull to run away.
    And also? Overwhelmed by this non. stop. winter.

    • Tim

      Anne,
      I was just scrolling down through all these comments, marveling at how much support and love is going on here, and I stumbled upon yours. I want you to know I will be praying for you and your husband and your kids.

    • Angela

      Walking in the midst of a similar path myself. Praying for you, sweet sister. :)

    • Anya

      I am a mom of 4 sons and much further down the road from these days you describe. My husband was also mostly absent because of work. The sons all now grown men. I look back and see that I was often too proud to ask for help. I pray you can find some trustworthy friends and some wise advisors to walk this path with you. Turn your fears and failures over to Him and hold fast to Jesus.
      Our sons really loved when we would, at the end of the day, talk one at a time about our best and worst. Especially when we as adults admitted our sin and asked for forgiveness. It seemed to give them the comfort of knowing that adults make mistakes too and that we always need to repent and start over. Our children are fellow sojourners on this trail with us. Praying for you, Anne.

    • Tina

      I pray for you and your family. In Nov. my husband left for Afghanistan and the next day I packed up the kids (12, 11, 6 and 3) and moved to back to my hometown (from Spain). It has been a horribly difficult journey being a “single mother” during this very long winter, without the support system of “home” (Spain) and husband. I feel for you. I wish I could offer words of wisdom to make it better, but I am pretty stuck. Every day brings a new challenge. This reflection really helped put some things in perspective.

    • beth

      Oh do I feel the stinging pain you are living. I have lived that season for the past 16 years with 4 children, homeschooling on and off. One day you will wake up and realize how HE has been with you holding you up when you didn’t think you can go on any longer. Or how HE was your best friend guiding and hugging you through all those tough lonely moments. And then the meek and humble Thank You becomes so overwhelmingly small in comparison to the love you have received. YES it is all worth it! RUN, RUN, RUN away…. to HIM!!!

      Praying for you…

  • Megan Frazee

    Thank you so much for your blog post today! It is just what I needed to read :) I am playing basketball professionally over in Israel right now. The season is winding down, and I am getting anxious to get back stateside with my family and friends. I came over here October 1st and will not be going home until our season finishes in April. I want to finish strong, and basketball has been a little rocky for our team the last few games. I am so thankful for God’s undeserved GRACE that He passionately chases us with. What a great reminder!! I enjoy reading your blog daily.

    God bless,
    Megan

  • http://onevoiceworship.wordpress.com Heather

    I love how the Lord uses this blog to minister to me right when I need it! I literally had just sat down at my desk and said aloud how overwhelmed I was, and asked for the Lord’s help. And then saw my email with this devotional. Hallelujah! His never-ending pursuit is indescribable. How He loves us! Thank you for this blessed and divinely timed reminder!

    • Sandra

      I’m right there with you, Heather. I just typed a google talk message to a friend right before reading this telling her “I am overwhelmed”. It seems the more I try to get our finances in order the further behind we get. A string of things breaking at our house hasn’t made it easier…1st the garage door assembly, next the oven door, and now the transmission in my car which we cannot afford to replace, but I need the car for work. I am just trying to focus on what I am thankful for in hopes that it will bring me the peace I so desperately need. Saying a prayer for you right now as well.

  • http://faithandsimplicity.com Jacqui

    Thank you, Ann, for putting a smile on my face. For reminding me how relentless my God is in His goodness toward me. I want to lean over and kiss the forward or my little ones right here as I rock my baby. Such joy and goodness He has for us!

  • Sarah

    Your writing helps prepare my heart to commune with God.

  • http://childoflight.nl Margriet

    This is so beautiful! I’m chased by grace… I can’t believe I sometimes wonder if God loves me at all… His grace pours down. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

  • http://hopehearthome.com Susan Shipe

    I never looked at who authored the post so as I was reading I thought to myself here is a writer who is emulating Ann V….so I slide the sidebar up with my mouse and lo & behold it IS ANN V!!!!! No one, and I mean, NO ONE writes like you Ann – your style itself is your “brand”. Loved the post. I’m an empty nester but I remember the days of Fisher-Price, Lincoln Logs, Matchbox cars, laundry, kitchen sink pile ups……I remember well and I smile!

  • Michele

    What overwhelms me right now is losing my children. My oldest will graduate in a few short months, and we’ve been preparing to lose him as he steps out. But then, last week, I really did lose my youngest. He just disappeared for part of the afternoon, the school couldn’t find him, my in-laws couldn’t find him, I couldn’t find him. As I panicked, we found him, he’s fine, but I learned I’m on the verge of losing everything every day, and your reminder that God pursues me even then, well that leaves me speechless and near tears.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Oh. Friend. You and me both. Putting on the armor of God with you, and battling for Joy in Him each and every day… more love than thin letters can hold Michele!

  • MamaX5

    What is overwhelming me today? Well, frankly, all of life. Home educating my family, being joyful and intentional, being a respectful wife, it all feels suffocating today. I have recently suffered sexual assault and the death of my very best friend. The sun is darkness in my eyes today. I know it is all lies, and I am fighting with every breathe to breathe in more glory. Relieve, and re-live. These Holy Spirit breathed words are life into my aching soul today. I am truly being pursued by his grace, even if it doesn’t feel good. Thank you. All. Is. Grace. Really!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Here with you, MamaX5. Just here. Yes, let’s breathe in more of His glory.
      Reaching over and squeezing your hand. Pulling you in and holding you close and circling around…and whispering prayer: Comfort her, dear Lord…a cupping close that won’t ever, ever let go…

  • http://www.jenniferfrisbie.com Jennifer Frisbie

    Ann,

    Thank you for this. I’ve read it twice – letting it sink in slowly. I have to say that the thing that has me the most overwhelmed right now is being incredibly unhappy in my career. I have a wonderful job and am allowed a lot of flexibility to be there for my family, but I feel like the direction they are taking intends to squeeze my round peg skillsets into the square hole of something incredibly unrealistic for me. It’s a struggle. A struggle to try to switch gears and look toward something that I have no desire to do. I am turning 37 this month – and I have talents that I don’t want to go to waste. I’ve felt God’s pursuit on my heels for years now, but I’ve been too afraid to relinquish the comfort of the place I’ve been in for 9 years now. Overwhelmed is an understatement.

    I will keep this and read it again and again. It will be a reminder to me that God’s grace is upon my heels and I’ve only ever to turn around and find Him in pursuit of me.

    And as my husband and I take steps to change some things in our lives to enable me to approach dreams that I’ve shelved for so long, I will remember that “We don’t live in pursuit of a better life – it’s the blessed life that’s in pursuit of us.”

    Thank you again.

  • Jill

    Thank you Ann. I’ve felt overwhelmed today- my daughter, a senior in high school, left this morning on her senior/missions trip to the Dominican Republic. First time out of the country, parents not with her and she was throwing up. Thought it was just nerves, but after 5 times I’m not so sure. As a mom it’s so hard not to be there for her. I know she is in good hands with those on the trip and the Lord is with her (and me) chasing us with goodness and mercy.

  • http://www.graceuncommon.com tammy @ grace uncommon

    If I’m honest the thing that most overwhelms me, is me. Expectations, hopes, dreams and desires hanging perilously in the delicate balance of life. Stolen moments in between carpool, lunches, potty training, cleaning up messes, snuggling kisses and tucking in. The delicate balance of motherhood and ambition. I’m thankful for this reminder that what is chasing me is grace – and I sure need it today. So I’m off to drink in spring with my little ones and forget the nagging to-do, should-do, really wish I didn’t do… In the wide open spaces is where I find God & peace. Thank you Ann, for this. Blessings to you.

  • Candice

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. My husband and I are in the middle of a very overwhelming business situation. Our business was doing really well and then all of the sudden wasn’t. We are now very very behind financially and the stress of that well, you know. I am a stay at home mom who homeschool’s as well because we feel like its what is best for our family. But the past few weeks I have felt swallowed up in overwhelmingness of it all. The thing that helps me is to remember the scripture in Isaiah 40- where the Lord is saying that we and all our issues are like grasshoppers under Him. I try to remember that He is sustaining us all just by His word. Some days I am able to remember these things. And on days like today I am thankful for reading this word Radaph.

  • Ruth

    I so hate to feel overwhelmed or persude, I want to be in charge, yet I know that He is relentless as He persues me and once again I bow low to His overwhelming grace and love. Why do I struggle so much with this when my head tells me that He is good?

  • http://stephaniesheaffer.com Stephanie

    LOVED this line. “No matter when you look over your shoulder, that’s what you find: God’s blessings overtaking you.”

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I was just telling my husband yesterday, “How am I supposed to keep up with the daily tasks of life?” I’m overwhelmed by nursing and diapers, potty training and meal planning, laundry heaps and dentist appointments…and that’s not to mention the ache to write and my work-from-home deadlines. ;)

    Grateful for this moment to be reminded of God’s goodness and grace.

  • Bethany

    I cried like a baby while reading this. In a 26 year old single woman and while I don’t have all the important jobs & stress, struggles & ‘mundane ruts’ that wives and mommies have, there are still plenty of valleys, mountains and ruts in my life that threaten to overwhelm me. I needed this reminder. Thank you, Ann!

    P.S. I have just started my Joy Dare journal. I am loving it already.

  • http://www.caringformarriage.org Lori Odhner

    Thank you for this message. I too have been chased by a daughter named Mercy and one named Hosanna. I love imagining God chasing them as their lives have not left much room for Him. But His legs are long.

  • Mary

    Ann, your words are true gifts today. My work situation has placed me in the center of a firestorm of activity and hearing that God is pursuing me with grace is what I needed. Thanks be to God for His never-ending love and grace!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Giving a you a real long hug and praying with you, Mary. So much love to you, sister!

  • Arlene

    I was just sharing with a friend over lunch how on Monday I was so overwhelmed to the point that at the end of the day as I sat quietly with my gratitude journal in hand, I could not think of one thing to write so I went to bed! Tuesday morning I awoke and asked Him to forgive me and as He promised, His mercies were reloaded for me that day! Thank u for this wonderful reminder and He pursues me…chases me down! Radaph!!! My new favorite word! May I never forget that gratitude creates joy which stimulates peace which encourages patience which enables contentment! Grateful today for the gift you are to His body!

    Bless u sister!❤️

    • Rosemary Griggs

      What slows me down is knowing that I did not chose God, he chose this
      vessel broken and uses His silly putty every day to mend any leaks that
      occurs. His words stay within my heart. Your inspiration is amazing
      bless you and your precious family.

  • http://kaitlincurtice.com Kaitlin

    I find that Psalm chasing me lately. I have been singing it when I lead worship, I have been hearing it in the Chase study I recently started– and it’s this sweet and passionate reminder to chase after contentment as I carry a 6 month old around the house and help me toddler Pull another cheese stick from the drawer of the fridge. These words chase me, promises pouring over me that while I am in an exhausting season of waiting, I am beside peace and peace sits with me.

  • Nicole

    As someone I know said- God is not an occasional visitor on the planet- He is here and active and passionately pursuing each and every one of us, with what? Goodness and mercy. Wow.
    We live in west Africa- to those precious girls sent to the city to “work”leaving family and innocence behind, to the little ones with big empty eyes and black hair tinged red for lack of nutrients, to the boys orphaned and left to beg on the street, to the beaten and left behind wife with no hope and lost-ness ringing true in her heart- oh, how I want you to know- goodness and mercy are chasing you down.

  • http://www.thedanielsgreatadventure.com Stacey

    Not even 5 minutes before I sat down to check my email I thought about how overwhelmed I felt. A self-proclaimed night owl, I’ve been making myself get up at 5:30am three days a week so I can go to a free exercise class before the hubby has to be at work. I’m exhausted. The days are filled with homeschooling, child training, changing poopy diapers, and trying to get my almost two year old to take a nap. There are dishes, laundry, toy trains everywhere, and Cheerios on the floor that I just didn’t feel like sweeping up…again. Sigh….overwhelmed. I was just reading to the kids today about King David and how God looks at the heart. How timely. God knows my heart and gives me just the right dose of encouragement when I need it. Thanks, sister…God is using you!

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Stacey! Can I just give you a very long hug? Really. I mean this with every fiber of my being — you have no idea: Doing what you are doing? He’s holding you while you do holy work. PRESS ON, SISTER! You are doing beautiful, brave, things and you are His beloved….Be soul encouraged, friend! My heart is with yours.

  • http://newleaseonliving.blogspot.com Amy

    I’m one of those people who get up and run for exercise. And I have never related to a sentence more than I relate to this one: Your whole life can feel like you are running for your very life, like you are trying to outrun a tsunami of stress.

    I don’t even have children yet and I seriously can’t remember a day that I wasn’t exhausted. My entire existence is weary. My body feels heavy and my calendar is full. Between this post and your altar post, I definitely need to make some changes. Now, I just have to figure out how.

  • Phyllis Olson

    What overwhelms me? The lyrics to this song, “The More I Seek You” say it for me.

    I wanna sit at your feet
    Drink from the cup in your hand
    Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat.
    This love is so deep, it’s more then I can stand
    I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming.

    When I feel I can’t breath, the world is pressing in with all the demands and I am just flailing, I just picture myself sitting at this feet, laying back against him and breath while I melt in his peace and let HIM overwhelm me.

  • Lisa

    Praying for you and your daughter Jill. I know how hard it is to not be with your girl when she is sick, let alone out of the country. But, our God is using those adults traveling with her as your standin and He is with her! Ann, thank you beyond measure for your words. They are God breathed to me. They are stirring something in my soul. Making me restless! And to think in my restlessness, He is pursing me with abandon! Sometimes my brain cannot fathom His love for me. It is overwhelming to think of all He has and continues to do, even for such a wretch as me!

  • Monica

    When it feels like the enemy is closing in on me … Such a great reminder that He is chasing me and pouring out his grace and mercy. Beautiful! xo

  • Julie

    Oh Ann!
    Reading these entries, a world overcome by stress… Lives lived “overwhelmed” by noise,
    Chaos, grief, To-do lists….and my own cries to a loving God to “SHOW ME what you have for me!”……
    When what He has,
    Is what He has ALWAYS had!

    Grace enough for this day! Grace for the second time in a week that I’ve missed the appt to meet with the Internet service
    Provider to hook up my service, because I have a job That requires my presence (duh!)….and I am coming to resent “technology” Anyway…the struggle I feel as it seeks to replace “relationship”…and the bills that won’t stop, and the energy that won’t last, and the love that’s worth fighting for but it’s draining me…..and the heart wrenching “letting go” of mothering kids who all eventually find their wings and fly….
    Chaos???
    For every life there is the noise that seeks to drown out the love song He sings…
    Every life unique to its struggle.

    And the answer is right here!! In your
    Words today….. “Radaph??”
    YES!!!! To be pursued, aggressively, passionately…oh what delight in the knowing, that chaos of this day is once again an opportunity to experience
    His grace!!!!!
    Grace… Not to make us feel good!!?!?!?! But to make us more like Jesus!?!? YES!!!!
    That! Is! The answer! To the chaos of my day!

    His goal is not to make me feel
    Good, but to make me more like Him!!!!
    Thank you Jesus for your love!!!
    (Thank you Ann, for your words!!!!!)
    Julie

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      oh. your heart. Julie! *Thank you* for this. Know you are loved! Press on, sister!!

  • Tracy

    The one thing that overwhelms me is when I become task-oriented, instead of relationship-oriented. The tasks seem to grow into mountains the more I focus on them, while the best things are left crumbling in the dust. Whether it is my relationship to the Lord through reading and prayer, or my relationships with the people that God has placed into my life, if I do not spend time in the relationships, I am overcome by the mountain of tasks.

    The one thing that helps the most is to be still before the Lord in moments of my day and to take my focus from the tasks to the best things, which are the gifts of relationships and people who are in front of me. Somehow, when I do that, miraculously, the relationships are whole, well and healed and the tasks are accomplished in a perspective which is much more balanced and less stressful. May we all “seek first His kingdom” and know that “all these things” will be added… as He wills.

    In the grace of our Christ,
    Tracy

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Just — thank you for sharing your heart here with us, Tracy. THIS is so wise in many ways. Love Jesus in you…

  • Lori

    The human race, the rat race…sometimes, most times, I am overwhelmed by the expectations (real or imagined) of the OTHERS who pursue me is my daily race around the clock…those OTHERS who expect me to be the model wife, mother, daughter, housekeeper, employer, employee, neighbor,” church lady,” friend. How nice it is to visual the OTHERS passing me by, until it’s just me and my Lord, with whom I can take a moment to rest, breathe, stretch, and THEN resume the race at the pace HE sets for me, not the pace the world sets for me. Truly – what IS the rush? Thank you Father. You expect the best from me, only because you want the best for me, in your timing, through your grace. Praise be to God, who loves us best and most.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      ah, you and me both, Lori… Deep breath and focusing on Jesus!

  • erica

    I am overwhelmed by the job of sharing Jesus with my 13 year old fella-in silence! Three word directions hit his limit.(clean your teeth. Make your bed.)His older sisters-well they were keen to actually talk,share their struggles, be prayed for. My beautiful boy -well Im told he is watching;embibing.The truth is that we are in a window of time- the responsibility weighs heavy. Im not doing enough-being enough.Then I remember what a wise mother once said to me-“, he,s not your project,He,s the Lord,s.”……so then I dial down my inner control freak. But if Im honest, this anxiety walks with me like an itchy coat. Lord, may the itchy coat call me back to prayer not panic.

  • Diane

    What is overwhelming me is my job…..or more exactly what new position is best for me between 2 possibilities within the same company. I don’t know what or where God wants me……trying to trust

  • http://www.glendamills.com Glenda Mills

    Absolutely love the thought of mercy and grace chasing us, hunting us. What a wonderful blessing. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://incourage.me Donna Strom

    I am learning that sometimes God will cause you slow down to get your attention and help you see the grace he has for you. An unexpected job loss has opened my calendar dramatically. After many tears, anger and hurt I am beginning to see how God is now able to use my days. It may be taking Gatorade and Popsicles to a mom with two very sick babies, cleaning out the mission closet at church, discipling three young women or just taking time to have a long lunch with my mama. The grace I have received I am learning to give. Do I miss the work? Yes. Would I like to go back one day? Yes. Am I learning so much from him in this slow, grace receiving time? Absolutely.

  • kd

    Kinda a silly comment… But I have been searching and searching for a stainless steel cup that ‘suits my fancy’… Are those s-s cups? And any idea where you got them from? :)

  • Lyndsey

    After spending the day chasing after a bundle of joy and energy (my already-toddling 9 month old) and feeling wiped by just getting to the end of the day with him, I am refreshed by your words Ann. The reminder that after all the chasing, and wondering if I have enough energy to do this all again tomorrow, that I am being hunted down with goodness and mercy is so comforting. Sometimes I feel like I want to be the one cared for like a baby! And lo and behold that’s exactly what God is doing for me each and every day – dressing me with mercy, feeding me with his grace and teaching me his ways, and having his hands ready to catch me when I fall! Thank you…

  • Sheree Slagle

    Ahh, those Legos….AND I’m at an age where my…ahem…hormones are conspiring to make me feel I’m losing my mind…or at least it is drifting off in HOW MANY different directions???? That feeling of loss of control and time is slipping, slipping…..away. So I’ve taken up your Joy Dare this year and following your blog and CRYING OUT to God…for that joy and peace and …..calm. And it comes, part of the time. When I’m looking up at Jesus, not down at that water I’m trying to walk on….Thanks, thanks, thanks for your encouraging, pushing words, Ann! You bless me. And especially, thank YOU, Abba Father, for gifting those words, experiences, and thoughts to her!!

  • Tricia

    Ann –

    My thanks journal has changed my life…started 2 years ago, and have not stopped. Had my third baby this past October — did not know what I was having, but husband thought of the name Grace if it was a girl – and so we now have a sweet baby Grace! I have never posted on one of your postings before, but the ‘chased’ today moved me to action. It amazes me how for most, the one thing that zaps our joy, is the feeling of being overwhelmed…I woke up with knots in my stomach today…just thinking about the ‘to do list’s! And immediately…wrote in my journal “Thank you that I can “do”!

    Thank you for allowing God to speak through you – and for sharing. Has truly changed my life…

  • http://www.scribblingbeautifulgrace.blogspot.com Linda

    Yes. Ann. The Hound of Heaven. In the struggles and in the calm and in the joyous happy always the grace chasing us. Because we cannot. And in the long recovery for me your words so encouraging. Reminding. Filling me with hope. And so much gratitude. Thank you!

  • Julie

    I am beyond overwhelmed today….I just received word that I am being replaced as Children’s Coordinator at Church and asked…assumed I would take the other role as Drama Coordinator….I don’t have a choice to remain….I feel as though I am loosing something I love and want to continue doing to be thrown out of my comfort zone into the unknown, I don’t like it or want it and I am hurt and in tears………and then I read this……”Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.
    And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.” And I want to post like the others that I automatically get it and am freed of the hurt and overwhelmed by the grace, but I am not there yet – pray for me that I will…..

  • http://www.TheHolmesFront.com Kathy

    Me! I overwhelm me – when I let myself fall prey to the world’s demands, to false demands. What helps the most? Remembering He is in the slow and the quiet! Still, and breathe – let my world get smaller, closer – learn to be satisfied with what is right in front of me that He has called me to. Don’t complicate things! I do that – He doesn’t! Thank you, Ann! :)

  • Lisa

    Thanks Ann! I shall reflect on “knowing” that God is pursing me with grace and mercy while I currently don’t “feel” it. It seems as though my world is crashing down around me. Ahhh, but it shall not overtake me!

  • http://reallyreallyrealhousewives.blogspot.com Beckey

    ‘grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus’

    That just washed over me like a God-wave!
    Reminding me how God works ALL THINGS for good! ALL things. The tedious, the difficult… as well as the pleasant. It all comes from God. It all has it’s purpose, and in it’s own way is a blessing. Working us, molding us, into an image of the savior.

    GLORY!! I think I have a new blog post coming on!

    Beckey

  • Marcy

    God called me to drink water, remembering that He is the Living Water. Today I’m feeling rebellious, tired of drinking only water, fighting back and forth with God over how hard this, glad to have read this devotion about Him chasing me with goodness and mercy…the Living Water and physical water being gifts. Thanks for renewed perspective on the blessings that He gives so freely and pursues me with!!

  • Sarah

    The thought that my physical strength is not matching what He wants of me…perhaps more likely, what I want of me. The fatigue of RA at 53 claims more of me than I think it ever has since it first came to me when I was 2. But more honestly, even that is not the overwhelming thought…it is that I am choosing, somehow, not to have the energy to accomplish much, to indulge myself by being lazy and not cleaning that bathroom or weeding that flower bed. The need for being by doing which drove me to list-checking for so many years seems to be waning and I can’t tell if it is that I am finally learning to gauge my activity level by how I am feeling and trusting that I am doing by being, by resting in Him, my Lord, or if, in fact, I have given in to being someone who watches others accomplish His will. That is the fear that overwhelms sometimes. And then, so tenderly, Jesus will send affirmation of His measureless love in a song, a book, The Book, a blog, a person, some grace which I can clearly recognize as for me, and I will know that I am to trust that He is more than able to give me the strength and energy and courage for what He gives me to do if I will stay leaning on His bosom.

  • Cynthia Myers

    Thank you, Ann, for reminding me that although work, family, busyness may sometimes feel as crashing waves in which I could drown, God is pursuing me to the very depths of this ocean called life.

  • Peg Fury

    Ah. Yesterday. Wondering what in the world is going to become of our adopted daughter, Destine, trying to cope with some of her behaviors as she begins to work through some of the crud, as memories of abuse start to surface. Thinking I’m going to lose my mind. Then, crying, praying, remembering that God is still in control, that He put this particular child with us for a reason, that He is doing the work, not me. Remembering that He can do so much more than we can ask or imagine. Believing that He is going to use this child’s life to bring glory to His name, though the road may not be as easy as I might like. Remembering to trust, to fall on grace. To allow myself to be pursued, as you say.
    God is good. All the time.
    Thanks as always for your encouragement to so many.

  • Jessica

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you for this post and using your gifts of encouragement to bless others. Praise be to God. I appreciate the way you can bring scripture to light in ways that help me to go deeper still in His living Word. Radaph in Psalm 23. I remember reading this blog post a while back and this ONE in particular really had me thinking on God and His way with us. It really helped me put the focus back on Him as it is not at all about me trying to find him with straining and clawing. It surely is a RESTING in Him, waiting for Him, living expectantly for Him without all this expectation of the way life should go. He meets us where we are at and wants us to let go and just meet with Him as we are…without all this pretending. This has really made me think about who God is and why he loves me. Not because of what I can do for him but really because He just loves me with no stings attached, just because he does and always will. Nothing can separate us from the love God in Christ Jesus. It truly is remarkable to just ponder and I thank you for helping me to “get there.” May you receive the blessing in which God is pursuing you with today ;)

    Love, Jess-Also the gratitude journal is helping me with my perspective (really obeying God) and I can really see how He wants me to have this blessed joy. I can see that this is why He is so adamant that we thank him. He wants us to overflow with His joy and I can see how we are truly created to give Him praise and glory. It is truly amazing. Thank you for encouraging me in this discipline!!! It is life changing.

  • Linda K

    Oh Thank You! I believe I have been just running and running so much-to escape, forget, get around, avoid…..well shame on me! He’s chasing after me-ME??! I should only just stop and be “tagged” by such Grace!?! Ah, but then I dont want to chase Him….I want Him to just scoop me up high and have it come showering down-right now!!!!!

  • Melissa Banville

    Overwhelmed…(sigh)…I feel like that is the word that could describe the last year of my life. Overwhelmed by the messes, the failures, the stresses, the people, the past I just can’t leave behind…always trying to perform. To be better, do better, try harder…then finding my trying is never enough and falling hard on my face again. So thankful Jesus is always there to pick me back up again, wipe my tears, renew my hope and guide me back in the right direction. Overwhelmed, yes…learning to not let the things of this world overwhelm me but rather to allow Jesus to overwhelm me with His goodness and love and mercy. So thankful He never gives up on me! Thank you SO much Ann for your encouragement and for letting God use you!

  • http://www.cranberryteatime.com Rachel Lundy

    “And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.”

    Thank you for this, Ann. I am having a very difficult week, and this was just what I needed to hear.

    Thank you, Lord, for grace!

  • Kyle Ireland

    First off, thank you for your encouraging words! I so look forward to my email from you everyday! My everyday life is overwhelming. I have a ten month old who is my world but I am constantly being interrupted from what ever I am doing with either screaming or her pulling at my pant leg. My husband and I work opposite schedules so we don’t see each other very often. My husband is a worship leader at out church so he is very busy with schedules and practices. Overwhelming is just a small word in his dictionary. I feel like I am always trying to chase time to get more of it back. I have found my self constantly scheduling time for God but I don’t want to schedule time.. I was to be able to always have time since he always has time for me. But how? Life is busy with cleaning dishes, diapers, work, sleep… I don’t know how to keep up. It’s encouraging to know that my God is constantly chasing me! Why can’t I just stop and be embraced in his arms? How I become encouraged to slow down is just spending time withy people that are constantly speaking the truth into my life. I look at my life and see how blessed I am and constantly tell my self, why am I complaining? So have it way worse than me.. And they have more faith.
    God is breaking through my heart of stone and asking me to be more like Jesus. I need to find the grace and acceptance that Jesus had. I volunteer with high school kids at our church and we are doing a devotional and I feel like God is truly speaking to me to change me in to someone more like Jesus. I am learning to find more time to just be embraced by the arms of Christ. God is chasing me, and now it’s time to continue to pursue his for his truth and understanding. God is good! Thanks again for what you do. Sorry for the babbling. Haha God is doing a lot in my life and just reading this has brought a lot to the surface!

  • Wanda

    Ann, your writing has blessed me so much over the past year and I started my joy dare journal last summer and my 7 year old daughter loved it so much that she started one of her own. We are still writing the gifts down. I read your book “One Thousand Gifts” and put the app on my phone. Your perspective and encouragement have been life-changing for me. I have kept the thought about eucharisteo close to my heart and knew that it would come back to mind over my lifetime ahead, especially times of hard eucharisteo. I just didn’t know how soon it would be put to the test. On February 17, 2014, just little more than three weeks ago, I was the one who found our smart, funny, wide-open, firstborn, 18 year old son had taken his life in the room I grew up in when I was his age. Talk about HARD eucharisteo! I thought of you that afternoon and thought of that word and it enabled me with God’s grace that was chasing after me to stand up through it all and to have a good day at the funeral and with no tears (by the grace of God with a peace that surely passes understanding) and encourage every young person who walked through the receiving line to choose God no matter what and He will bless you beyond what you could ever imagine. I have shared your website article almost everyday since then on my fb page and each one has helped me more than I can say. I have lived me life second by second since that February Monday after Valentine’s Day and God has amazed me countless times everyday and if I had wrote it all down, I probably would have surpassed the 1000 mark easily. Even today, I just got up, not knowing what to expect and God has blessed me with visitors with sweet kids that made me smile and warmed my heart and goodness and mercy were surely chasing after me hard today…and my son’s name, who took his life mainly because he chose to not be thankful (I had tried to get him to start his own 1000 gifts journal) and looked only at Satan’s lies, was Chase. That is another reason I felt that I should share my story. God makes no mistakes and this blog came at the perfect time to let me know that He is still “chasing” after me with goodness and mercy, even in the midst of the hardest eucharisteo I hope I ever have to face…thank you for your faithfulness, Ann Voskamp and your words. I hope I will get to meet you in person one day and give you the biggest hug for helping me more than words could ever say! Love you dear sister-in-Christ!

  • Sheralyn

    The one thing that is most overwhelming me is the list of needs in my family. Both my husband and I are in a job search and in my case, a career change. Creativity calls to me, beckoning me to dust off talents shelved long ago, but the path is unclear. Needed: provision, guidance.

    Our 16-year-old niece has been missing from a friend’s home since February 23. We were thrilled to add her to our childless household last year and never dreamed she would run away. She made a hurried phone call to my husband and me to tell us she was okay and that she would come home when she was ready. Last week, a messenger told police she wanted to live with a friend’s family. Needed: protection, peace.

    Provision…guidance…protection…peace. Surely these are included in goodness? Mercy? Grace? I believe they are.

    Sometimes I think God allows me to rummage through my tool box until I have exhausted every option to meet needs and fix problems. Just as His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His ways are not my ways, His tools are not my tools.

    So what is the one thing I do when I am overwhelmed?

    I give up.

    Sometimes I easily recognize I am not able to solve a problem. Many times, I see His loving face through tired tears, and I remember His invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

  • Anissa

    What is overwhelming me today? I had a C-section with my first baby. I desperately want to have a VBAC for my second. I am due to have my 2nd any day. As the time closes in, the doors shut tighter for a good outcome — just today, the doctors told me they changed their policy, and I could not labor in water, which helps with pain, and that I must have continuous monitoring, which does not help. It seems all is against a good outcome. But I am reminded that God is not bound by statistics and numbers and science. He wrote their rules. Then I read your article today. If His goodness and mercy chase me, then all these facts and figures mean nothing, in spite of the outcome. He has already ordained that this little person should play a part in this world, and that its birth is still in His realm of jurisdiction — despite all the odds against it. My favorite sentence in your article is this: “He is so bent on blessing, He chases.” Amen.

  • http://www.longdazeshortyears.blogspot.com The Mommy

    Great post (as always)! Sometimes my life is overwhelming. Right now, I’m focused more on NOT letting it overwhelm me. When it does, I often say, “Other moms do it, so can I.” Maybe not very motivational, but it gets me through.

    And it made me chuckle because, while I appreciate the TRUE meaning of the saying, in our house it’s even more accurate. I have a “Grace” and she is, indeed, always chasing everyone…;)

  • Faye

    God’s grace – God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Many times over the past four and half years people have asked me how I have been able to do and accept what I’ve been able to accept and the answer is always because of God’s grace. Our son became a quadrapelic as a result of an automobile accident – he was 20 – pursing a college degree – playing sports – and everything changed – everything BUT God’s grace for him and for our entire family. “God is so bent on blessing, He chases” even when the journey seems impossible. You have put it so beautifully in so many different ways in this devotion. “Nothing can overwhelm me, like grace can overtake me.” Thank you, Ann, for blessing our lives over and over again. Thank you for sharing all God has put in yoru heart.

  • Hanna

    Dear Ann,
    thank you for this post. I have five kids aged 10, 8, 6 and 4 yo. twins. Often I feel overwhelmed – sometimes I feel that all five demand my attention right now – pulling me, tugging at me, competing for my attention, so I have the feeling that they are breaking pieces off me. Thank you for the turn-around in thought, that God loves me to pieces – so I can become more like him. That (maybe?) He’s breaking bits off me, to mold me into what He wants me to be. Thank you for the reminder, that He only and ever wants what is best for me. He is so good!
    And I know for sure that even when these moments(/days?!) come and sometimes I dread them, I know I will miss them, when my kids leave home.
    God bless and keep chasing you/us! :)

    • Kelly

      Oh Hanna, bless you sweet mama! I have 4 boys roughly the ages of your children and I understand your heart-cry. I pray the Lord will bless you with this: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” It’s always such a comfort that as I tend the sweet lambs God has given me, He does not forget that I’m here too. He holds my babies close to His heart and He is also gentle with me. I pray you will receive rest and refreshment as needed; that you will be able to enjoy the sweet moments even as the difficult moments are many; and that you will be able to look back at this as a precious season of life. Let as much as possible of the housekeeping go, and spend that time breathing deeply. Love Jesus, your man, and your babies. Everything else is just details . . . God bless.

    • Mema Jeanne

      In agreement with you, Kelly, for Hanna!!!!! How beautiffully you wrote about the Shepherd tending to your precious lambs.
      Mema Jeanne

  • Lina

    The overwhelming is the migraines that have turned to ten days plus a month instead of two. Yet the blessing that I have pills and they have lessened as I age. The coping while at work is hard. But the blessing of blogs like this to help me focus on God and that so many, many others have such bigger things to overcome. It helps keep me balanced, hopeful, grateful. Thanks Ann!

  • RJ

    Oh, so overwhelming, the anxiety of traveling, particularly through the sky (and so much of this on my upcoming calendar).. and the panic attacks my body throws at me, even while I sleep..
    What helps? Oh, that even when it feels horrible time after time, the truth doesn’t change: “no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God”.. Thankful for Psalm 23. Oh, the feelings don’t go, but at least there’s something to repeat to myself.

  • Birdie Cutair

    Radaph – being chased, pursued by God. What a wonderful feeling! The wind is howling outside my window today; it’s a blustery day, but just knowing that God is doing the chasing, that he is bent on the blessing, makes everything feel glorious.

  • Priscilla

    When I read your posts I often want to shout what you have written from the house tops! So blessed! Thank You, Lord!

  • Bethany

    Church used to be the place I ran to. At first, as a child, it was all about how well I could hide my suffering within the shell of the perfect church girl. I learned all the verses and devoured church doctrine. I chased scripture, but I didn’t chase after God. Instead, at 19 years old, God caught me.

    Then I was running to the church for a different reason – for love, for family, for fellowship, for security. These people who lifted their hands and their hearts to God, opened their hearts and their arms to me. My reasons for chasing church were better – I thought. At least I now shared the faith that had seemed so elusive when I was a child. That was enough, right?

    But what do you do when church stops being safe? When hearts and hands are closed; when judgment and criticism and gossip’s whispers feed the self-doubt and shame that still roots itself in your soul? What do you do when you realize you’re still chasing the wrong thing?

    You stop, I guess… and allow the pursuer of souls and fisher of men catch you. Again. Surely goodness and mercy with chase after you all the days of your life. Yes. I needed to read this today.

  • Linda

    So grateful for your message today, Ann. I need courage to go forward. After close to 13 yrs at the same company I was laid off along with many others in my workgroup. Much of my life I’ve spent counting my blessings while my friends and family say “When will you catch a break? You deserve better than you are getting in life.” But do I? Do any of us? We already have the ONE thing that matters: God. To hear about God pursuing me with goodness and mercy was extra comforting today. May God continue to bless you with the wonderful gifts of storytelling and drawing out meaning from scripture in fresh ways that speak to the hearts of so many, Ann. Your humble, down-to-earth, genuine ways of portraying life are priceless to me.

  • Ruth

    the one thing that has overwhelmed me is the assault of evil. what a precious tho’t that my shepherd dogs, Goodness and Mercy. are pursuing and guiding me to my permanent dwelling. I don’t need to run from evil I am being delivered from evil even as I am experiencing the threat of it.

  • http://thelocalgoodness.com Jessica

    My MIL was diagnosed with liver, spine & lung cancer this week. It’s times like these that make you reflect on how fleeting life is. And makes you reflect on what’s really important. Important things like going on a backyard hunt for my son’s favorite stuffed animal that is lost, an impromptu hug from my daughter, playing barbershop with the kids…it’s my family I am so thankful for right now and so thankful for the time I get to spend with them.

  • Teresa

    I am so very grateful for your message today. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not anymore. I feel so blessed. Thank you Lord.

  • Kelly

    I homeschool our 4 sons and when God told my husband to quit his job and go to medical school, he did. Now my 5 year-old has leukemia, my husband has polymiositis, he has had to take 2 years off of medical school (so far), and our marriage has been completely wrung out and crushed. As we fight cancer, fight muscle degeneration, fight for our marriage, fight for some semblance of order for our sons in the midst of all the carnage, what a blessing it is to hear that God is chasing me with goodness and mercy. We need mercy, Lord!! Every day we are under 50 feet of muddy churning water, flayed open by debris, gasping for air, but always knowing, always believing, ever clinging to this: All. Is. Grace. Thank you, Jesus.

    • http://sunrisewithasixpack.com Karin Madden

      Kelly, your words here move me to tears. I have to stop and tell you what an amazing gift you are to your husband and your children. I’m with you in this clinging to God’s goodness and mercy. He is relentless. Thank you, God. I am praying for you, your husband, your 5-year-old son, and your 3 other boys right now. God bless you, friend.

  • http://trendingmama.com Marisa Slusarcyk

    I feel so overwhelmed by the mundane things in life, like the piles of laundry that will be worn again before they likely get put away and I get so frustrated with myself because I often feel that I am not good enough and I have to remind myself whether it in my gratitude journal or out loud that I am good enough, I am better than “good enough” because God made me in His likeness, in His image and He is perfect so it’s okay for the laundry to pile and the papers to fall over because I am His child, exactly how He created me and while I know I need to get on top of these things I also know that He is doing so much more in my life, and in me than folding laundry and that His timing is perfect, the day that I become organized will be His will, not my own. And that is a gift worth savoring.

  • Elisa

    Thanks Ann for this timely post!
    After playing recklessly outside with kids for three hours in freshly fallen powder snow, i felt a wave of anxiety rush over me as i made lunch, and rushed kids to continue schoolwork. Still feeling some regret over being out too long.. I continue with the folding clothes while washing machine spins.. And i spin sweeping floor and cooking sauce.. In record time we finish dsughters lessons and piano and ship her off to gymnastics with dad waiting at door.. I scribble more on to-do list and happily scratch few away.. But still feel this race against clock.. Like another day we should have done more and didnt.. Regret and worry overwhelm me and i just sit and pray to settle this feeling and i grab my phone and quickly check emails and find this! Exactly , preciously what im experiencing.. Including the gazillions of lego pieces i keep trying to organize and try o contain:0
    But it was a spendid day outdoors shoveling for quanzees and basking in the sun.. Thank you for helping me see i am not perfect nor can ever be, but the Perfect one is always chasing after me even before i ever chase after Him.. And in getting on my knees to be with Him, i am recharged, renewed, recalibrated. Thanks for taking precious time to share with us and encourage us along!
    Your words spoke powerfully to my beating heart and slowed it some too! Thank you Jesus for speaking through Ann, straight to me … And others .. May you be refreshed as your words have refreshed me!
    Now back to work! :)

  • Sharon

    Being an older mom of two little ones (who still don’t sleep through the night), i feel i don’t have the energy to be calm and patient with such trying ages, especially by day’s end. I try to see the blessings that i know are all around me, but the internal volcano of frustration makes me behave as immaturely as my almost 5 year old. I will try to read this post a few times a day.

    • Mema Jeanne

      Sharon,
      I don’t know you at all except that you are a daughter of the King. I am a grandma who stayed with my daughter, day in and day out , when her Will was born 3 yrs. ago—he also DID NOT SLEEP!!! Your post caught my eye, so I am going to pray for you when I close this out, and I will write your name down so I can keep lifting you up. May His grace embrace you and may you find REST IN HIM even when sleep doesn’t come.
      Praying,
      Mema Jeanne

  • charlotte

    Such powerful truth today. I know this, I knew this but I don’t think I have ever put it in thought like this. God reminded me just yesterday (three times this short month so far) that He finds joy in blessing me. He has much to offer and give but I forgot and think of only what I owe to Him. As if I am of no value to Him yet He is my prize and treasure. Relationships are never one sided and He is by NO means a one sided God thanks for helping me to slow down this Lent season and remember the truth of the satisfice and the GREAT love that flowed that day into these now days. Blessed today and this remembered truth lifted my hard failure day right off my shoulders. This day is a good day even if I tried to hard to do it just right. How He blesses in HIs perfect timing of life.

  • http://www.coveredinhisdust.com Jenny

    I needed this so much today. thank you…

  • Julie Knight

    My husband’s recurrent metastatic melanoma, no other cure so trying homeopathic alternative medicine and spending our savings to get more time. We have lost a child to brain cancer already and this hurts so jolly much. I choose to listen to worship music on Walkman or CD on computer or You Tube clips from Chris Tomlin.
    I want to choose to suck up his goodness, grace and love and mercy in my body, spirit and soul.

  • http://jenny-parker.blogspot.com Jenny P

    Balancing all that’s good (and all that’s work.) Wife, mother, bible study leader, licensed professional counselor, moms in prayer leader, friend, daughter, sister. Asking God John 15:2-every branch that bears fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. What good thing does He need to prune in my life so I’m not burned out and overwhelmed?

  • Amy

    God wants to bless me more than I want to be blessed. Wow. How differently I would live and move through this life if I believed this truth everyday. Thank you, Ann.

  • Mema Jeanne

    The first I heard of “Hound of Heaven” was this past week in completing a Bible study with Angela Thomas–“Stronger”. She introduced the poem, and I had never in my 64 yrs. heard of the Hound of Heaven, yet it truly makes sense!!! As Angela stated in our workbook, ” He keeps coming after you because He knows He can heal your wounds. He knows He can keep you safel He knows He is stronger than your fears. He knows He made you for more. Refer to Eph. 4:14-19!!! All I’m saying is Halleluia!!! What a Savior!!!
    Mema Jeanne

  • Kate

    Time….I so wish there was more time. I chase after lost minutes all too often. When this becomes overwhelming I try to stop and count the blessings that occurred rather than counting the things left to be accomplished. In my daily pursuit of more time, it is so refreshing to be reminded that grace and mercy are relentlessly pursuing me!

  • elise

    Homeschooling, laundry, bills, pregnancy, cooking, the usual. :) you bless me, Ann

  • sheila

    I am overwhelmed daily by living the life of a single parent while the person supposed to be my partner sinks deeper into himself. I run to God and His word to lift me higher, push me on and cover me in grace. I humbly count gifts and know that I am a loved child of the True and Living God

  • http://www.DeDe-Music.com DeDe W.

    Dear Ann,
    I often feel anxious during the day. Being a full time crossover singer/songwriter in my 40’s can be pretty daunting, and not an easy path in this stress-filled music industry today. Add to that my husband’s surgery last Friday, and issues with his two 20-something kids… I really appreciate your kind truths and daily words of encouragement. My husband and I were just talking last night about how much God yearns to bless us, we just have to “accept his blessings!” Yes, he’s actually “chasing” after us and trying to bestow blessing upon blessing, but we have to trust in Him that he’s wants to give us many blessings, learn to be patient, “rest” in him, and be willing to accept his love, mercy and grace! “…and ye shall find rest”.

  • http://awarriorofnoblebirth.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    This post was straight from the Heavenlies. Thank you for listening to the Spirit. It’s been a journey these last few years. Struggle after struggle, moment after moment. The words Jesus has you write spoke life to me in some of the darkest most devastating times. I’m fighting that darkness now, so thank you…thank you for being His daughter. I thank Him for giving you your gifts.

  • Laurie

    What overwhelms me? Expectations: mine, theirs, the world’s, the Church – not that there is a lack of time, not that I’m not living in the moment – not that I’m not counting my blessings or living on Grace and Grace alone……but what I expect I can do in the time I have…..My to do lists become Tsunamis that chase me even in my dreams…..not the ones on paper but the ones that trail off the paper and stick in my mind and follow me even as I sleep. The I should’s……….or the if only’s.

    What helps when I’m overwhelmed? To just stop…..stop and breathe and remember that the grace of God pursues me as well and can and will overrun any Tsunami of “expectations”. To take that time that I feel I need for other stuff and blog, read, be in the Word, talk with a friend, hold babies – things that are not on my “to do” list but are about being and trusting and following His heart in relationships, not works.

    Thanks Ann – you help to reset my brain…….

  • Lori

    I am seeing a long-awaited dream fulfilled this weekend. I planned a retreat for ministry wives. There will be 100 dear, sweet, overwhelmed women who need to hear they are being chased by goodness and mercy Himself. What a timely word, Ann. I will share these life-giving words with them, along with several copies of your book. Thank you.

  • Kathy LL

    Oh, I needed this today & in the nights when pain is stalking me-I often want to run from it. What a great perspective that goodness & mercy are pursuing me. Thank you for this, I felt something shift inside me reading this.

    Kathy

  • Kathy LL

    I forgot to say what helps me-gratitude. I started The Joy Dare last June & hunting down gifts has changed my focus. Yes, I still live with incessant pain & sleepless nights, but God has transformed my heart through gratitude.
    Sometimes all I can do is cry & plead for enough grace to make it through one more hour-I am learning that His grace is indeed sufficient & His power is perfected in my weakness.

    Kathy

  • Dawn

    Thank you, Ann, I needed to know this. God’s goodness and mercy pursues me, tracks me… A missionary home on furlough from a very trying term, a hard, closed country, I sometimes feel like memories, trauma are what’s pursuing me. But NO! Goodness and Mercy are relentlessly following me, trying to catch up with me. Which is a good thing I’ve nothing left to do but slow down and let Him overtake me. Otherwise I’d crash and burn. Well, I have, but now I am resting. Allowing goodness and mercy to wash over me. Thank you, thank you. I never knew you existed until we came home and now I have your beautiful memory verses all over the house. The illuminated Word of God, the very thing we’re bringing to our lost neighbors in the Middle East is now spread around my house giving life. Helping me find my way again.

  • Linda

    I can not think of just one thing. Everything seems over whelming right now. I can hardly stand not seeing my son that is away at college. I worry about him and the headaches he has struggled with for 2 years. My younger son is having a health issue that we having been trying to get diagnosed for a year, my parents are elderly and area having health issues. I pray and push down the pain waiting relief or answers.

  • Linda

    What I would give to have legos on the floor again……

  • Amy

    Thank you for this word. It was much needed. Bless you Ann!

  • http://ginadetweiler.com Gina

    This I needed. The overwhelming in my life wears dark rims glasses and just got her driver’s permit. She moved in with tears in her eyes and running shoes in her bag. And her coming here, though it is good, it has been hard. The extra it has added to my life has worn me down, I feel like I’m running into the ground. But this reminder here, grace is the thing chasing me and grace always wins. That is like honey to my soul.

  • Jennifer

    Wow… My question is what isn’t overwhelming? This world, this life, this everydayness… This being enough ness. It’s all overwhelming and smothering and every little person of my three needs me in exactly 100 different ways and my husband wants me to be exactly 200 different things in 300 different places and all I want is peace… Quiet. I want to stop running. I know this grace pursues me… But couldn’t I stop running long enough to be enveloped by it? To be lost in it? To be found in it? I do run everyday… Literally and figuratively… But when I’m jogging, I feel as if I’m finding my free… My joy… My grace. Then I hit reality and really start running. The everyday race of survival, of mommy, wife, Child of God, of broken warrior, of fallen soldier, of perfect imperfection. Then it becomes this race for mercy. When all the while… All I needed to do was turn around and throw open my arms and let His grace fall into me… As I fall into Him. I just want to fall into Him.

  • Dawn Perry

    I so needed this today, for I am again at a very dissatisfied and discouraging place. Thank you so much.

  • http://www.kathycheek.blogspot.com Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    If I have trouble falling asleep due to disruptive or overwhelming thoughts, I will recite the 23rd Psalm slowly to myself, as soon as I say the words of the first verse, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” – I start relaxing and by the time I get to verse six and “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” – I am usually ready to drift off to sleep so comforted by this beautiful and loved psalm.

    • Rebecca

      Oh, I so agree with you “Kathy in Quiet Places”. I’ve memorized a lot of scripture over the years but there’s nothing like the 23rd Psalm. As a recent widow I feel overwhelmed quite often but one day the only phrase I was capable of reciting was “…I will fear no evil for THOU art with me.” What an awesome experience. “Thou art with me,” “Thou art with me,” “Thou art with me,” so “I will fear NO evil……”

  • Amy

    Overwhelmed by my marriage falling apart, trying to work and homeschool. Bills, deadlines, dreams dying. So many feelings flooding my soul. Wanting the goodness and mercy to catch me and fill me.

    • Rebecca

      dear Amy, Oh dear sister – do not give up. He is there with you. This is an opportunity, believe it or not, to walk closer to Him, feel His touch, hear his voice behind you saying, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the earth.” This is temporary, if you hang on to Him, He will get you through to the other side. When I feel overwhelmed, I read the psalms. Can you manage one psalm a day to lift your spirits? rebecca

      • Heather

        Amy,
        I understand your pain in this. I too, am divorced and feel like a failure as a parent. This is a grieving time. Allow yourself to grieve this loss but don’t stay caught in it, even though it seems easier to do just that. Please know that I will pray for you. I don’t know you, nor do I know how to get a hold of you… But I trust our Father and I know that when you come to mind, He will fill you with peace, love, calm, courage, strength and will hold you tight.
        Heather

  • Kristy

    I am really struggling right now to believe this Truth. I want this Truth. I desperately need to trust this Truth. There has been much pain in my life for years now, but the Joy of The Lord has been my strength. But now it is different. I am worn low. My teenage son, who has already dealt with so much more than most have to deal with by his age, including being autistic, bullying, social exclusion, etc. has been struggling with depression accutely for about 9 months now. I am sucked in with him. He says he hates his life. I look at my sweet boy, who “yesterday” wrapped his little tiny baby hand around my pinky finger, who now is well over 6 feet tall but has the same brown, curly locks and piercing blue eyes…is still my baby!!!… And I think “is this all there is this side of heaven for him? For me? Is there no joy? No peace?”

    • Linda

      I pray you find the peace in the middle of everything. Praying for you and your son.

  • Kris Ray

    I feel overwhelmed daily. I gave birth to a precious baby girl when I was 40. 2 years later we entered the unforgiving world of autism and not the high functioning kind. She is now 7 and our days our filled with me at work, her at school (rarely a good day for her) and our evenings and weekends are filled with therapy sessions, doctors appointments and her dependence on me to assist with daily care. I lover her to death and she has truly made me a better person and brought me closer to God and understanding my reliance upon him. But the journey is emotionally , physically, mentally and spiritually draining. Then I look at the house, my spouse and step-kids, friends, and extended family and realize how much I am neglecting. Trying to take it a day at a time. It definitely requires renewed strength every morning and a lot of forgiveness from others and of myself. Just getting up, showing up and telling my girl every moment of every day how much I love her, how much God loves her, and how very special she is.

  • lynnette

    Overwhelming and seems to be chasing, pulling me under…thankful, so much his goodness and mercy can catch me before I fall.

  • lynnette

    The depresson it is…

  • Beckita

    AH! Your words, as ever Ann, have captured just what I chose to acknowledge on this day when my daughter described the alcoholic frenzy of her husband last night and I tended to my three granddaughters, praying God’s healing, blessings, mercy and love over each one today. Then as I was coming home, I received the text with news of my mother’s kidney failure and the ensuing interventions. Deeply breathing the same Breath of Holy Spirit, imaging the precious pursuit and ready for some Sacred Silence.

  • Jennifer f

    Overwhelmed as I’m here alone with 2 young boys. My husband has taken a job in another state and I’m here finishing this chapter before we can join him for the next. Trying daily to trust that God has a wonderful plan for us – know it in my heart but its still so hard in the now. Trying to savor each day and count each blessing when I am so aching to move through this and have my family together again. Your book has been such a blessing to me through this season. Thank you for sharing your ponderings….

  • Kat

    What overwhelms….love and pain and the entwinement of them. My love of 17 years lost his job and found another that relocated us to a culture so steeped in legalistic “Christianity” that has hurt our two teens and their faith in a way we never foresaw. The pain of seeing them suffer is a pain like no other.
    What makes it better? Knowing He doesn’t waste hurt. Just as my past growing up with abuse has refined me like gold or silver. They will learn and find their own way. I cannot chase their path for them. I can be still, know that He is God, and pray their hearts feel his Grace chasing after them and that they’d respond. ❤️

  • http://www.lorirenee.com Lori

    The notion that grace pursues me on days when I can barely make it to the bathroom or sit down to eat is calming to my toddler-frazzled soul. It brings tears to my eyes to read your words as my sleepy-eyed teething-toddler wakes at the sound of my typing. I feel as though I chase time, but the author and creator of time chases after me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow (chase after) me, and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever. It is when I hit pause to allow His grace to overtake me that I remember that I AM the dwelling place of The Lord who is in me. I am His holy temple; his bags-under-her-eyes, frazzled, precious, beautiful, holy dwelling place.

    Then I hit play and snuggle with my toddler time-chasers!

  • Tammy

    Ann’s words usually minister to me in someway but today my eyes flooded with tears. My husband and I are pastors and run a non-profit together. We have a 11 year old and a 2 year old. Most days I feel pursued by my to do list and responsibilities. Everything is so fast paced an demanding I feel paralyzed. We have a congregation that needs so much and so many requirements for our jobs.

    Tonight I am reminded that I am not chased by my to do list. I am chased by grace. Finding grace in the moments and the people…

    Thank you for you ministry to my very overwhelmed heart.

  • http://www.joannethomasphotography.com Joanne Thomas

    Pain overwhelms me. So good to know that I am pursued by the grace of God to get through it

  • Debra

    Yes! Really needed to hear this blessed word. Zany times at hand. Looking for new place to live, joining new place of worship, new job with current employer and INCREASED responsibility and staff and more and today was a harried day. Felt my heart and self running almost on empty. Then this great word to center AGAIN on Him who pursues me, us fiercely! Everyday back to the Cross and His love. Great timing. Thanks so for the encouragement. Ahhhhhh blessed rest :)

  • http://amyhagerup.com/ Amy Hagerup

    This was beautiful and most helpful. I love to think of goodness and mercy chasing after me is delicious. I am most weighed down right now by my mother’s failing health. She is getting weaker and weaker and is losing the will to live. She is a godly woman and I love her so fiercely. I know she will be thrilled to run into the arms of Jesus even while goodness and mercy are chasing her. Blessings, Amy

  • Jency Thoma

    Radaph!! Chased!!! Pursued!!!! Grace and Mercy!! What a Thursday blessing, Ann! Radaph is now one of my favorite words, one I will tuck away to pull out and be comforted by, buoyed by, and encouraged by when things are difficult and when things are wonderful. It’s all grace!

  • Carissa

    What overwhelms….the agony of a teenage daughter who insists on harming herself, lying, and being sneaky at every turn…our heart shatters into a million pieces every time we see new cuts, discover new boundaries tested and broken, trust extended and broken again and again…feeling like this season will never end…and two other daughters struggling to make sense of it all…

  • http://www.fantabulouswomen.com Tabitha

    OOoohh, THAT’S the feeling of being chased all the time!! :) I read your post because I am on my back porch trying to shake off a vague feeling of overwhelm and the constant question of “Am I doing this right?” and working so hard to help others when I myself am the one who needs a little help sometimes. The things on my plate are good things–hosting a home party, helping women with their businesses, writing devotions, attending artists’ events, shopping, family time…yet even that feels like a weight on days like today. I needed to read this…I am going to think on it for a bit….thank you, Ann.

  • Keri

    How wonderful to know that God is chasing me……little ole me :) love this devotional thank you for the reminder of mercy and grace!

  • Tammy Ott

    Feeling overwhelmed today because tomorrow my mom is having a kidney transplant. My brother is the donor. An amazing gift, for an incredible woman, by a selfless man. Prayers appreciated for these 2 special people. Thanks Ann, for this reminder today!

  • http://godisinthewhisper.blogspot.com Pam

    My overwhelming times come when I, as a case manager for providing in home care for the elderly and disabled, see so much need and pain and trouble. I want to fix it…but I can’t. I try to do everything I can do but sometimes I don’t know what to do. Then I come home and feel like I am overwhelmed by all the things I am not being able to do in the home, by all the time I want to have to spend with my children…it just seems like there are not enough hours in the day.
    What helps me is to take each minute and ask the Lord to help me see the good and see Him and His hand at work right then…and see how best to glorify Him in that minute. To live fully in the present moment slows me down and makes me realize what are the most important priorities to have :)

  • Amy Chase

    Me overwhelmed, yes, I am! I know He is there, my husband is unemployed, and I just don’t have the faith I should.

  • Joyce

    I started a new job and I’m overwhelmed. I haven’t worked at this pace since before I had my (now adult) child and now I’m a widow and alone and much older and simply don’t have the same capacity as in my youth. Sometimes humans ask more than what is humanly possible. I need grace and mercy to do what I can do, to recognize and speak when I can’t do something and the wisdom to know that if I’m fired for not doing the impossible, I’m okay with that.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      Fervently praying with you just now, Joyce…He’s got you friend.

  • Nikki

    Let me tell you, Ann, how His goodness chases us. After a very, very rough morning in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I sit down with my 7 young gifts for breakfast/Bible time and read your advent reader. You ask…what one impossible thing will you ask God for?
    As we go around the table and my 5 year old gift from China says (in a whisper), “For Jesus to be my Savior and Lord.” (For only being 5, this child has a long story). My heart screamed hallelujah! The joy on her face after praying was priceless.
    Surely. Surely, goodness (yes!) and mercy (Praise Him!) all the days of our lives.

  • http://www.incourage.me/2014/03/7-things-you-need-when-youre-overwhelmed-cant-keep-up.html Decima

    Ann, thank you for your sharing today. Your words are enlightening and stir my spirit as I am finding life can be most challenging in my early retirement years and it seems there is not enough of me to go around. In the midst of this I have found God to be both relentless and ruthless in His grace. Life is like the heart monitor and the up peaks and down valleys show that the person is alive. The flat line means life has ceased. We love the mountain tops/peaks in life and so often don’t realize that it is what happens in the valleys/down peaks that prepares us for the mountain tops. God is willing to do whatever it takes to bring us to the end of ourselves to the point we cry out “I can’t do this without You, Jesus!” That is His ruthless grace that takes me to the valley and a willingness to depend on Him. Jesus is already there ready to take our burden and do life for us, through us. That is His relentless grace and takes us to the mountain tops. When I am feeling overwhelmed I ask God to do something to encourage me and He always comes through. This is His never ending grace.
    PS. I just finished reading One Thousand Gifts on Saturday. It took me most of a month. It is an easy read that pulled me in immediately, but I had to lay it down numerous times to ruminate on the truths you shared and sometimes to cry until there were no more tears. My early life shares some very strong similarities to yours, so I connected with you from the get go. I started my Gift list on March 9 and I have memory verses on colorful index cards in strategic places through out our home. My husband has been so moved by watching me during this time that he is reading the book now. I have just received 10 copies I am going to be sharing as God leads. It is a thrilling time to be a believer that wants to be teachable and is hungry for all of God’s gifts. When I am desperate without Him, I am most desperate for Him.

  • Lorena

    I am most overwhelmed by looking for a job. what keeps me going is God’s command not to worry about tomorrow.

  • Sue

    Grace chases me to my knees, lifting up our prodigal son. We pray the Hound of Heaven will capture him once again. Please pray for Josh. Hard Eucharisteo, indeed!

  • Roxanne

    Everything. Being alone. Living month to month and losing custody of my daughter in my divorce. Bills and more bills. Others depending on me. Self doubt. Insecurity about can I do this, and on my own. Envy that other women haven’t failed at marriage. Feeling like a failure as a mother.

    • Heather

      Roxanne, I am feeling ALL that you are. Your words could very easily be mine. We are grieving my friend. But don’t shut God out…His love, His pursuit of you will wash over you. He wants to give you a hope to carry on and not take your eyes off of Him. I know, easier said than done. It CAN happen. It will happen, just give in and give Him. Journal your prayers, cry your prayers, breathe your prayers. Find someone to talk to and don’t stay alone in this. It’s no doubt, the hardest time of your life, but please do not forget that your Father loves you more than you can even imagine. He is grieving as you grieve, crying as you cry. Don’t shut the door on His chasing after you. If you allow yourself to be immersed in Him, life really does get easier.

  • http://www.amandaconley.blogspot.com Amanda

    Isn’t it amazing when God double dips his words to us? Classic pursuing.
    I was just telling my husband that I felt like I was speeding kamikaze down a black diamond ski slope as I attempt to homeschool three of my four kids and fight cancer at the same time.
    But the other coincidence – but not really coincidence, because it is God’s divine plan, I’m sure – is that the kids and I have been memorizing Psalm 23. Just today we worked on verse 6.
    Thank you for writing this, Ann, and for obeying the urge to write and encourage regularly,because today you have confirmed His pursuit of me.

  • Ann

    I can only echo what so many others have said – thank you, Ann. As always, your words heal my feelings of inadequacy in so many ways. My sense being overwhelmed comes from two directions, my oldest daughter’s recovery path from her eating disorder and my own impatience with myself, noting giving me time to enjoy this season of my life. Prayers needed for patience, wisdom and grace.

  • Nancy

    I so enjoyed reading this post. When I am trying to rest at night but instead feelings of being overwhelmed result in being wide away, I recite Psalm 23 and recently this phrase has been highlighted at the end and I have pondered what does it mean, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” how should this look during the day when many look for my understanding of school issues or when so much is to do in the house but where is the time? So yes pursued and just look back and there it will be, goodness and mercy. Thank-you.

  • http://seetheshinebetheshine.com Kristin at See the Shine Be the Shine

    Impeccable timing on this topic! Trying to balance it all overwhelms me. My husband and I are parents to a very spirited daughter with a penchant for the dramatic and an inherited, Irish gift-o-the-gab…… some days I wonder if she’ll run out of energy or breath ;) I work full time ( with an hour commute each way) and my husband works crazy-long hours and it feels like I’m a single parent at times especially after school – homework, dinner, riding, lacrosse. All that stuff that fights for my attention and time.

  • Midwest Mom

    Self-employed, sole supporter of my stay-at-home husband and four children, and today at lunch my main client of 10 years halved my work and won’t fully pay for work I’ve already done. Time to grieve and refocus.

  • Kathy Appleton

    Dear Ann,
    Clearly our Lord writes through you. Radaph! I am chased by the Lover of my soul!! Thank you for the reminder and please pray…

    Two of my children are grown. My third angel is a 13 year old daughter with Down Syndrome. God has carried she and I through four open heart surgeries, 13 other surgeries, and another open heart this coming year. My husband lost himself in work right after she was born. There are days when I literally ache to climb into bed, rest my body, spend time with my Redeemer, and gather His words for the coming day. Thank you for reminding me that Grace and Mercy are in hot pursuit. Pray they will overwhelm me.

    Blessings and keep writing!
    Kathy Appleton

  • http://www.homeschoolingforthewholefamily.blogspot.com Jennifer

    What overwhelms me right now is trying to make relationships, especially with my husband and children, the highest priority while still maintaining my home and homeschool and yard and business. I am thankful that the mercy of The Lord is new every day, I need it every day.

  • June

    What if you had to live your life in a bubble. You have to breath the purest air possible. The mold growing in your home has made you so sick you had to move out, clean it up and then back in, but it is still not safe. There is no place safe to go. The immune system is almost gone and the chemical and electrical sensitivity has set in. You sit at home waiting for hours with the TV off and the computer off and no radio. Absolute quietness. Then you start to run and go to the coffee shop that makes you sick or the mall that makes you sick or the grocery store that you don’t know if you’ll walk back out because the electricity numbs your feet and you faint or you turn on the computer to check to see if you have any messages and you feel like you got the flu in 5 minutes. I’m running because this is the life that I do not want and I know He is chasing. Grace is chasing. The question is when will I stop running.

  • Mary D

    Living alone. Husband tragically gone. Sadness. What helps? God. God ‘ s word. Praising God. God’s provision. Compassionate Christian women. God taking shattered heart and gluing the pieces, slowly back together with himself. Ann, This is an eye opening blog for me. I knew He was working in my heart more quickly in recent months. But I didn’t know this. Radaph. “it’s the blessed life that’s in pursuit of us.” Knowing more of who God is, is amazing. Thank you! I am so grateful for you. Joy! joy! Joy! Oh, thank you Lord for chasing me. Makes sense to slow down when we know God Almighty is chasing us. Blessings to all.

    • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

      oh, Mary D — I promise to carry you in earnest, tender prayers tonight. Hugging you long and gentle. Oh, how He loves you so!

  • Nichole Renee

    Ann you are a angel, a dear friend of mine told me about your book 1,000 gifts I can’t wait to purchase it. I downloaded a sample on my nook just to grab a glimpse. I came across your website last night and went to again this morning and came across your blog, what a blessing. Today’s blog has just reminded to trust God always through mountain high and valley low, because He never leaves us and His grace and mercy is upon us always. I am somewhat at a lost of words because Gods timing makes me laugh. Not our time but His.
    God Bless you Ann

    Nichole Renee (44

  • B

    Grace….mercy….thank you….

  • Megan

    Thank you for this post. It really spoke to my heart right now. My husband is deploying again in a few months and it is easy to feel defeated already. The fear and anxiety along with taking care of 3 kids can leave me feeling empty and alone. So I am thankful God is there chasing me and that he gives me grace daily.

  • Karen

    I used to be a stay at home mom. Our business was so successful, but things have changed and I now work two jobs and due to overdue and unpaid bills I have creditors trying to garnish my pay. Everytime the doorbell rings my heart tries to melt with fear that it might be another legal summons. When I’m overwhelmed and constantly crying I know He is for me, His Word is my anchor. Jesus my Saviour will guide me through this.

  • Julie

    What overwhelms me? Well, knowing that the goodness and mercy of God follow me every day is a precious thought….a life sweetening, peaceful truth. What overwhelms me? Fears…big ones…about my kids hearts, about my parents need for salvation, wondering if I will be strong enough emotionally to endure more of life’s blows. Small ones…like managing my days and wondering if I am teaching enough in our homeschool. What helps me is to focus on God’s kindness and sovereignty and faithfulness….learning to walk with him aware of his presence and love. Knowing I am his precious daughter, sealed forever. That helps.

  • Lydia

    Keeping my eyes above the waves in caring for my Mother who has dementia and for my Husband who has lung and brain cancer. So very thankful that God pursues me with His Mercy and Grace each day as He holds me together through this part of our life’s’ journey. I focus on Him as He calls out my name as I call to Him. That is His blessing of Joy to be His child when all the world seems to have come out from under your feet. My faith rests in My Lord and Savior who gave His life for each of us so that we would know His Joy to keep on loving the one true God for all eternity.

  • http://beckykeife.blogspot.com Becky Keife

    Sometimes I feel most overwhelmed by the journey…that is, every day I have to continually choose to LIVE what I believe. Live joy. Live thanks. Live grace and forgiveness. Live trust. And when I inevitably fall short discouragement can creep in.

    But…”He gives us more grace.”

    But….”Radaph!”

    God is pursuing me. Chasing me. Relentlessly after my heart for the sake of HIS goodness and mercy. Yes! This is exactly what my heart need, friend. Thank you, Ann!

  • susan

    What overwhelms me??? Aloneness. What helps?? Asking myself…now what is TRUE? I find TRUTH in the scriptures. He tells me I am worthy. I am loved. I am not alone. He is with me always. And then I ask Him to help this leathery heart to believe. In those moments where belief has victory, my seed of faith grows.

    • Rebecca

      AMEN! I’ve experienced this too – all of what you said. Based on His Word, ask Him for help, Trust HIM to provide, watch Him work. this gives us faith to trust Him in the next trial, resulting in a real, closer relationship

  • Rebecca

    Actually, today I was overwhelmed by a BUNGIE CORD!! Okay, YOU may laugh, but today that was overwhelming. You see, this bungie cord was lost in a 5-acre pasture of long grass. The pasture belonged to a dear friend whom I was “helping” – a very particular person so I knew I couldn’t just walk away without finding it. He would hay that pasture in a couple months and when the blades of the mower met with the bungie cord – ooooo – big-time repair bill and a broken relationship too. So I walked the field, “Lord, God of the UNiverse, YOU know where that bungie cord is, please help me find it…..could you even use the cows to point it out to me?” Stranger things have happened in my recent life. I’ve recently become a widow and now God truly IS my helper. So, after about an hour of looking (under cow pies, flakes of hay, etc) I could feel the tears starting to well up, I stood still and prayed – “Lord, what are you trying to teach me from this. You’ve helped me before, please help again!” I opened my eyes and looked around where I was standing – there it was!! 3 feet from me! Needless to say, this bungie cord brought me to my knees right there and then – worshipping Him, who cares for me. “The Lord is my helper, I shall not want. He leadeth me beside the still waters, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures…..”

  • http://throughrosecoloredglasses.weebly.com kristy

    3.5 weeks ago I slipped on icy steps. In a second my too-busy-to-breathe life came to a sudden stop. My right foot was stuck at a 45* angle to my leg. It was dislocated and my ankle was broken in 3 places requiring surgery. I can’t drive. Can’t walk. Can’t stand. My part-time business is on hold. Everything is on hold. I can barely dress myself and even showering requires the help of my husband who is battling –and winning, Praise God — a neurological disorder. Then I went and lost my balance on the crutches and fell again. This time slicing my scalp open.

    3 weeks before the first fall, I was diagnosed with hypothyroid. 2 weeks before the fall my husband was diagnosed with a neurological disorder.

    I’ve cried more tears than I knew I had.

    That’s overwhelming stuff. But what is truly overwhelming is that the second I hit the ground, I knew God was at work. He, in His grace, allowed this sudden, painful stop so I would find quiet. Find trust. Find Him. Im overwhelmed because 6 weeks ago I thought everything was okay. I’m overwhelmed because God pursued me and He caught me. I’m overwhelmed because He is using this for my good, to make me more like Him. He is using this for His glory.

    Radaph. I am found.

  • Rachel

    Thank you, Ann, your words are a blessing to me.

  • Rachel

    Thank you. I needed the reminder that His goodness and mercy follows me. And I am so grateful for the wisdom shared and new perspective that He pursues me even when I am so wrapped up in my own worries and life that I am forgetting to look for Him everywhere oe even anywhere at times.

  • Judy

    Oh, thank you for so beautifully conveying such TRUTH …this overwhelmed mama of three, three and under, is resting in this tonight! Thankful for the goodness and mercy which shadows me!

  • Christy Raj

    I am feeling overwhelmed being mamma to 3 littles – 6, 3 and 2. And this has been one of those weeks where they just keep pushing and pushing and pushing – overflowing water, constantly ignoring instruction. No time for reading or schoolwork. And in my humanness I want to stop bestowing blessings on them because it seems they just throw it back in my face. But don’t I do that to God? Ignore His bounty? And doesn’t He keep pursuing me with grace? Both with obvious gifts like the opening of the first flowers of spring, but also with the grace of discipline, of not giving up on me and leaving me in my sin. Thank you for this reminder that to model Christ to my children, I must continue to pursue them with grace, as He is pursuing me. That I must recognize His grace in my life, then turn around and freely offer the same gift to the beautiful little beings He has entrusted to my care.

  • Heather

    There seems to be much that overwhelms me lately. I am recently divorced, sharing my children with my ex and his new wife (who was my very good friend), going to school to try and secure a good future for myself, working a job with not enough hours to make enough to pay my bills, and a debt that makes me want to just pull the covers up over my head and hope that it all goes away… then the phone rings and the collections company reminds me that it is not a bad dream. I also am overwhelmed by loneliness, which seems to have struck me very hard at this moment.
    But I am also thankful because without Him I wouldn’t have a job, or a place to live, or children whom I live for… He has never left me. No matter what He is always holding me, no matter what. I just chose to allow everything to overwhelm me; and what a bad, dumb choice that is! But when you are finding yourself “starting from square one” and you are in your mid-40’s it’s all overwhelming. I just try to take each moment and each of them as they come my way. That’s all my God is asking of me right now.
    I know He loves me. I know He cares for me. I need to tell Him EVERYTHING and rest in His arms. Then the overwhelmingness leaves… and I can breathe.

  • Linda

    I cannot even begin to count those things overwhelming me…loosing a good job, being 57, single no other income, taking a much less paying job, having the same bills and no relief…but, having three beautiful grandchildren, having my church family, having the gifts God gave me, creativity, love for art and so many more. I’ve been a Loser all my life…but finding Gods pursuit to be the winning in it all. I cling to that each day. Overwhelmed with His love. That’s all I have, and I am learning, learning that it is sufficient…tough…but enough.

  • Leslie King

    What has me overwhelmed? School….I only have 7 weeks to graduate with my BSN. It has destroyed the last 15 months of my life. I have gone full time and the work is worse than the 4 years I was in college for my ADN. I am overwhelmed and pulled to the very end of my rope. I have three precious boys, a wonderful husband, patient family and few friends and we have a farm. And it all scares me to death. What happens when I graduate?? I find a job, I’m no longer a stay at home mom, my toddler has to go to a sitter, life becomes less stressful (maybe), my depression disappears (I pray), I will hopefully lose weight and I will be free of homework, discussion boards, angry TAs and sad little boys who never get any time with their mommy. But failure scares me the most. What if I can’t make our lives better with this degree, get a job that doesn’t totally destroy our family and become happier and healthier? I get so scared I cry. I stare at the wall and wish it all away. I skip Sunday service and time with family to poor my heart into my homework. There are days where I am so overwhelmed I get nothing done and I don’t know why. Then God speaks to me, and I hear. I fall into a puddle on the hardwood floors and He holds me like a father should. I cry and heave and I feel his protective cloak. He tells me it will all be over soon, hold on, the end is always the hardest, I have a plan for you, you will do my work, keep strong and know who I am and what you mean to me. I can finally see again for a while, I pick myself up, dust off my Capri jogging pants, pull my hair up, lace up my shoes and take off like my life depends on it. Life becomes clearer and I know that as long as I pray, listen and want it enough this graduation will be the beginning of a beautiful new life and I will finally get to do God’s work.

    • Christy Raj

      Oh, Leslie! You don’t have to wait to do God’s work! You are doing it! Right now! I understand that tendency to look forward to what is next (I do it too . . .), but my hubby & I were talking just last night about how that constant wishing, wanting what is coming (maybe – since we are never guaranteed tomorrow) saps our energy to do what God has for us now, in this moment. I read a post this morning on conversion diary about Mother Teresa’s approach to the demands on her time. She did what she could, and didn’t give a second thought to what she couldn’t, trusting that God would give her the strength, time, and ability to do what He wanted her to do – today, this moment. May He guide your choices, give you rest and balance, and strength to finish the course, one moment at a time.

  • Marilyn

    A.V., First, you get me thanking God for 1,000 gifts (and beyond) and the day starts and somehow I am being thankful as the minutes get filled in. The dishes, the laundry, the picking up, the cooking, the stacking firewood, the walking the new puppy, the interruptions, the plans that fall through, the getting put on hold by the insurance company l have an issue with, the news of the political parties that are argumentative and contentious, and on and a little further on. News of illnesses and sadnesses and despairs. And a little further still, the murmurings and complaining. Second, you get me all smiling because goodness and mercy are pursuing me through all this green pasture and still waters and shadowy valleys. I have pursued…children, animals, sales, alone time, financial stability, and l know how it feels when the thing l am pursuing is in hand. And to think that I am pursued by the One who created me, who knows me as no other does! God pursues me hard to love me! Lastly, for each one who came to this site to quench your thirst, to find hope, to ask if anyone else has been where you are and did we make it….yes, yes, yes. We did make it. We came upon a wall of stone from time to time, but God knows a thing or two about getting us through. Come back often. There is WATER for your THIRST offered here. There is LIGHT for your DARKNESS offered here. You are gonna find some GRACE here. Grace to you.

  • Allena

    “Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace. And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.”
    Wow! So Jesus timely! Tonight I’m caring for a sweet senior lady in her daughter’s home.. It’s my first overnight assignment as a caregiver for the home-care company I began working for 3 weeks ago. I believe in my heart my Knower called me to take the job.. It really is ministry in the trenches, praise King Jesus. But tonight, my hubby was concerned, and I admit I was too, though unspoken. It’s 9:30 PM – 8 AM shift.. Never met my client & hadn’t driven the route before, and especially a little unnerving at night.. As I drove, I asked Abba Papa to please allow it to be a clean home, didn’t have to be spotless, just yeah… And, just finding out I had this assignment at 6 PM, when I was to be off, yet interestingly I had rested a lot today.. Slept late, took a nap even… Hmmm..

    When I got to the client’s daughter & son-in-law’s home, a friendly face met me.. And as I looked, actually a familiar face! Then, after a little conversation, more familiarity! Lo & behold if all the homes He sent me to, I realize this precious MawMaw’s sweet daughter & I served in our old church’s choir several years ago! The relief we all sigh is so Jesus sweet! I’m pretty sure my hubby did a Jesus jig when I texted him! Ha!

    Yes! He pursues us with this grace, chases us into it and after us too!

    I’m relishing your words.. So profound.. So Jesus!
    Love your heart!
    ❤️

  • Laura

    The enemy wants to overwhelm me with concern as my husband looks for his next job. We will do whatever The Lord has for us, but know He wants us to Wait. Trust. Hope. Love Never Fails. Thank you, Ann, for the reminder that God wants to bless us even more than we want to be blessed and that His pursuing us with Grace is relentless. How beautiful. Radaph. Grace and blessing to you, Ann, and all the precious sisters who have shared.

  • http://verilyquirky.wordpress.com/ Vincy

    “The goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately.” Beautifully put! And exactly what God has been reminding today.

    A thing that overwhelms me is the financial strain that my family has been for years. The debt we owe is huge, and it seems hopeless. But that’s not true. How do I deal with it? I read the Word. It’s that simple. Because the truth of our condition lies there, no matter what it looks like otherwise: “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” and again, ” Surely goodness and mercy follows me all the days of my life”. His Word has kept me grounded in Him through these trying times. Thank God that His mercies and goodness pursue and chase me!

  • http://www.ThePerfectBirth.blogspot.com Tirza Techiya

    Divorced last year after 12 years. Three precious children (8-7-4). Homeschooling them when the partner I thought I have is marrying someone else who joins him in his rejection of Jesus and the Bible. The impact of all this on my children. The ONE thing that helps is believing Christ is my husband. I Peter 2:6 – BELIEF. Most days all I’ve got is BELIEVING. I, like Mary up there in the comments, have also been relieved by the prayer and wise counsel of compassionate women. I believe, I believe, I believe, my life will not remain a stump. Jeremiah 17:8-9, Psalm 1 and Psalm 92

  • kathy jo rogers

    “God is so bent on blessing, He chases.’
    I love this! All day long I chase after my 3 year old boy whom I love beyond words..love to bless him with kisses and tickles and popsicles. All day I chase my 11 year old boy with listening, laughing, and pancakes. :) I long for them both to know the chasing of the Father as I know Him. I love to chase them. God loves to chase me…with the real satisfactions and savory goodness that this world does not offer. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Ann. You’ll never know this side of Heaven how God’s Words — written by your hand– fill me up continually. I love you, Ann!
    Kathy Jo Rogers, Fort Worth, TX

  • Sarah

    Overwhelmed by depression, and the pressure of trying to keep juggling finals and a job and another job and church commitments – just barely keeping my head above water. I need to read words of truth so much, when I don’t feel it, and yours always deliver truth, but with such honesty that it isn’t all as easy as the world would have us believe. Thank you.

  • Linda

    I have been blessed just reading through the comments I am coming to the end of my degree in theology and my husband is stressed out in work. It has encouaged me to know that God is chasing us. One quote from an assignment that has helped me through feelings of being overwhelmed is “when I am overwhelmed I will remember that I am overshadowed”. No matter what new direction our lives take from here I will remember that God’s grace is chasing me

  • http://www.aplaceforthoughts.com aplaceforthoughts

    What a beautiful post, Ann. I am so overwhelmed currently for health reasons. I have two little children that depend on me each day and each day is a struggle. I needed to read this. Thank you so much. God bless.

  • Sheila

    I was so pleased to hear God is not out to get me ….. Needed to hear it …so often feel so guilty and lose the assurance of sins forgiven. I guess I find it hard to forgive myself and am full of regret, which is such a useless and destructive emotion.

  • http://www.creativeabundance.com.au Nel Dekker

    About 19 months ago my husband was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. He was given 6 months to an absolute maximum of 18 months to live.
    We know from our everyday experience how He relentlessly pursues us with His goodness and mercy…. Every day is a precious gift that we try to live to the full. Today was a struggle, but that does not change the fact that our Dad is oh, so GOOD and His grace and mercy are here for us constantly!
    p.s. I have discovered this wonderful blog only about 10 days ago and I have found it a huge encouragement. The journal has been started as well…..

  • http://pinknewgirl.wordpress.com Donna

    This was what I needed. I wasn’t going to read it because I live alone and am not employed so I’m not overwhelmed by time crunch. But I have many reasons I need mercy pursueing me. I love that you said “God is not out to get you. He’s out to give to you.” It just applies so well to my life. …eased my soul. It’something I know…God ‘s not out to get me, but to pursue me with good was new to me. Thanks Ann.

  • anne

    So grateful for your words today Ann, they rush over my weary soul like sparkling snow melt over a riverbed! Pursued by goodness and mercy!! Pursued by Him, Lover of my soul. Reminded of a lively old hymn… “Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms”. I just have to stop rushing and straining,- and, pausing for a moment, I fall back in weariness and exhaustion, only to find His arms coming around me from behind, and
    there I am…. Leaning….blessed be His Name!!

  • Susan

    I am overwhelmed at the opportunity to help, again, my 27 year old daughter, a beautiful girl addicted to pain killing drugs. She has been in this darkness for more than 8 years, caused financial pain beyond belief. Emotional heartbreak. Devastation to our family. But God is greater, He is bigger than all I can conjure up to fear. Not only is He pursuing me, He is constantly pursuing my sweet child-one trapped in darkness. The joy of the Lord is my strength; I will not grieve.-Nehemiah 8:10

  • Naomi

    Anne

    Last night I was admitted to hospital with my fourth bout of pneumonia in four months. I am living with an extremely rare immune disorder that attacks my lungs. It meant I had to stop work as a lawyer, but that meant I could train as a counsellor. Many adjustments have been made to our lives.

    Goodness and blessing has chased me because my doc said I needed to go straight to hospital rather than take antibiotics at home. I usually fight this, however our bank accounts were drained and I couldn’t afford the medicines anyway. My health insurance one covers little things like free access to TV in hospital. A luxury but a welcome one when you can’t breathe. So god has provided financially as well.

    My specialist is on holidays but last appointment he introduced me to his resident so someone knew my case. My ward companions are lovely. On a different ward to usual and it is great, one is a christian too!

    I went into hospital the night my granddaughter went home after her usual extended stay with us, 7 days this time. It all worked out well. God is so gracious. It is when I am sick that my husband who can’t stand hospitals and is never here for more than an hour or so, shows his love and concern in a demonstrable way.

    We have a decision to make, a life altering one. I don’t know if this is from god or not but it would make my dreams come true, you see we have been asked by an extended family member to adopt her unborn child. She knows she can’t manage 4 kids on her own, which is why we have Miss 3 four days a week. There are lots of reasons to say no, the least of which is my health. I do not have children of my own, my husband has two and his son is certainly giving us plenty of grand kids. You said to say yes not to run from his blessing and a child is certainly a blessing! So far God has prevented this young mum from terminating the pregnancy, thank goodness. There is still much to sort out and I want to say yes yes yes!

    So although I could whine about being sick instead I praise god for his blessings and his grace!

    Praise him! Praise him! Praise him from the mountain tops and from the valleys! Praise him!

  • michele

    Thanks for the reminder, I so need this, trying hard to understand how God can bless us in the midst of my son and wife cutting off all contact with us and not letting us see our grand children, there are a lot of insecurity issues with my daughter in law and we always walk in fear that we will say something she doesn’t like and it finally happened and she took the kids out of our home, I am so heart broken and torn between just giving in and apologizing once more so I can see the kids but knowing something else will set her off again, they have no honor or respect for us or anyone in authority. Please pray, it has been 5 weeks

  • Ashley

    Thanks, Ann! What an amazing God we have… What other god in the universe chases us with grace??? Wow!!! There is no one!!! We serve an amazing God!

  • Katie

    Ann
    Your words encourage me often. Thank you for reminding me that God is pursuing me! I’m so too often focused on how I need to be rather than focused on who God is – a relentless, passionate chaser of me! How that changes everything. Thank you for your honesty, encouragement and passionate heart. God uses you to speak right to my weary soul in the land Downunder!

  • Donna

    Ann, Thank you! God’s goodness! It’s been my new year’s resolution to search for and find God’s goodness and yet, here, He finds me once again. It is His doing and not so much mine. I love that He pursues, chases me, that He loves me this much to come after me, to find me, to love me like this. Tears of joy, heart swelling with receiving His love through this message. Thank you

  • Dori

    Is it possible to run so fast He can’t catch us? Sometimes it feels that way. I am desperate to feel His goodness and mercy. Sometimes it feels so dry and baren. But, I continue to trust Him for I know He is good!

    • http://www.ThePerfectBirth.blogspot.com Tirza Techiya

      I will run the way of your commandments when you shall enlarge my heart. – Psalm 119:32 I too run to every other distraction instead of to the Living Water.. Wherever we are running, God is there before we get there. Reminding us to rest in Him. Running to Him begins with what you already have: Belief that He is good. We rest. He enlarges our hearts… so we can run to Him more. Thanks for posting.

  • Liz Aguilera

    Nearly every day I feel as though I have run a race against time… and lost… So many more things I wanted to do…or do more of, or do better… better preparation (I’m a teacher), time to really talk to my students, to help them, get to know them, share God’s love with them, time to Skype with my son, time to sit and chat with my daughter, time to cook something other than a rushed dinner, time to love my husband, time to dwell in His Word, time to worship, time to go out into my garden and look up at the sky and contemplate those cloud formations that will never be exactly the same again… Every day I run from one thing to the next, enjoying what I do, grateful even for the trials, but never being able to do the things I do the way I would like to do them because there aren’t that many minutes in a day, and I don’t know which I should choose to omit… And that is exhausting. And His grace sustains me and yes, now I know it chases me, and perhaps if I stop more often to bask in it, the answers will come. Thank you Ann

  • Melissa Lee

    To everyone who struggles–your words are so helpful to me, a fellow-struggler. We all are facing our battles so bravely with the Lord under our feet carrying us. If you’re like me, I often forget I’m in this battle with many others and I feel so isolated, so unique. But, it’s this type of forum that God uses to help me, you, and others to realize that we are a community that needs to pull together to help all of us who struggle. My mother has Parkinson’s Disease and has been living with us for several years. My husband and I work hard to keep her safe. We deal with her Dementia, her many physical limitations, her anger at the disease that’s often turned to us, and so much more. It’s often an uphill battle full of slings and arrows. We often forget who the enemy really is but we are gently reminded who our comforter truly is in this battle. I praise the Lord for my battles because without them, I would not truly realize who my comforter is in the struggle of life. Thank you and God bless you all.

  • http://www.fertiledirtundermynails@blogspot.com Wendy

    First off, I thank God for chasing Ann so fervently that she spills all of His grace out onto us and helps us to see it and name it! Second a comment for Missy from 3/13 who is parenting a child beyond her abilities. I have a special needs boy and find times where soul and nerves seem so flimsy that I lose hope. Meditating on psalm 139 really brings me around- you can’t argue with fearfully and wonderfully made. Also, God is chasing after our children with mercy and grace. I often remind myself that God loves my children more than I can. He has good things for us all.

  • Leslie

    Ann, Oh my goodness, how I needed to read this now! My life was been on a steep overwhelming trend the last year, and some days are almost too much. We were blessed by the opportunity to adopt our precious little children last year, but I feel like I am still learning to do life as a parent of two little bitties. I want to be the best mom, and yet fail time after time. My children are blessings from God and we love them so much! I want to step up to parent them with fervent love and grace, but –as you know with 6– this parenting stuff isn’t easy!! Recently, I just experienced a very personal (private) tragedy that I’m also dealing with. I couldn’t do any of this without my Saviour who picks me up everyday. I love how you say He pursues me?? Me!!! Thank you, Jesus.
    Blessings,
    Leslie

  • Mary Linn

    Today I will go to court. I have been a guardian to this young lady and her sister for 7 years. I have been in their lives for 15. I am not related in any way to them. One girl has turned 18, the other is 17. The 17 year old ran away in October and is living with another family. She didn’t/doesn’t want to live by my rules. Which are no sex, no smoking, no drinking and go to church. So today, another family will become her guardian. For liability reasons, I am stepping down. I have two of my own to raise and can’t risk being sued for something she chose to do. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Her sisters are going with me, they are afraid she will hurt me more with her words. I will always love her, no matter what she does, but at this point she doesn’t see it that way.

    • Melissa Lee

      Hugs and prayers to you Mary Linn. It is hard being in your shoes but know your rules are good and you are not the one who is pushing her away, Satan is pulling at this young lady. Continue to pray for her protection and continue to love her–our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the darkness of this world–put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:12-13). Remember, “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”–Romans 12:12. When this young lady matures, she will most likely see things differently. In the meantime, just do what you have to do and continue to pray. God is good and in His time, His blessings will abound in your life. May God’s peace be with you and when the barbs come at you, remember, those are from Satan and denounce them and pray for protection. With God, all things are possible.

  • http://www.bluebirdsalwaysfly.wordpress.com Laure Covert

    This morning, after praying and reading Scripture, I sat in my “quiet time” corner and surveyed the messy living room. “Holy Spirit, how do you see this day with its many undone tasks and my low energy?” I got a mental picture of my two teen daughters who were still sleeping heavily upstairs and I remembered their need to get ready for a worship ministry weekend and their school assignments that are so heavy right now, and I knew I was supposed to focus on them first, not the house, or mess, or writing I do.

  • Kelly H

    What’s overwhelming me? Having 4 special needs kids. Most pressing is my youngest who had surgery last week, much more major and involved than I planned on. Now he is in two casts with a bar between his legs. Requiring lots of care right now. In the midst of this, I get a call from school about another child struggling and needing help NOW. This devotional is so what I needed yesterday, but was drawn away before I could really process it. I am back today to remind myself that nothing can overwhelm me – like grace can overtake me.

    • Alison

      Kelly, I am praying for you. I will pray for strength to carry on and for peace to know that you are not alone. Hang in sister.

  • Phallon

    Whats overwhelming me… Being a new graduate nurse (kind of new) I look new on a resume because I have no experience other than my nursing school experience and who wants to hire a new grad when they can hire someone more experienced? But how am I supposed to get that experience when no one is willing to give me that chance.. God has a perfect job lined up for me, but all the nagging and lack of money is wearing me thin.

  • Ty

    Every morning is the same…the overwhelming sense of being a failure as a mother, wife…that no matter what I do its never enough. The morning battles to have a child out the door on time to start the day, failing completely to maintain grace, for grace just doesn’t seem to want to come. Then guilt hits like a ton of bricks and the heart is ripped apart once again, because once again I’ve failed.

  • Heather

    2013 was a hard year. Found out through a police raid on our family business my dad had been involved in child porn and prostitution for the past two years. Then relationships fell apart as his demeaning, obscene abuse to my husband and I continued, along with my mother’s heavy hand of control and literal condemnation complete with the pointing finger because we chose to worship God thru Christmas. God took us away. I give praise for the Promise Land He brought us to and for freedom. I am free. We are free. Christ set us free, and we actually have been freed from someone controlling our lives. But I write because my entire life changed. Nothing is the same for me, my children go to school, I no longer help my husband run a company, my friends are all new, I am starting over with a new church, I am no longer producing widgets, building websites, running operations, managing assembly lines, using chemistry and algebra in product development and manufacturing, meeting deadlines at incredibly rates and making money, more and more. My life suddenly stopped. I struggled with purpose. I do nothing. Nothing for a year. Additionally, damaging family rumors surfaced; pain rained. I wanted purpose. I searched for who I was and what I was to do now totally stripped of my life. God brought mercy to me. I found it at a ladies retreat in the Word. The Fruit of the Spirit is my purpose. I can bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control to whatever simplicity
    I am in. I know God loves me beyond a doubt, but when I choose bitterness, sadness, pain, fear, doubt, gloom, I choose to let the Spirit die and deny my Savior living in me. I don’t know if my life will ever achieve human success as I had obtained in previous years, but as much as it hurts to let go of being someone and doing something, I am finally living free and choosing to bring the Spirit within me so generously supplied to my family. I was bringing shallow wealth that paid for opportunity. I am free. I can bring the Spirit and I know that is real purpose and real witness of Christ my Savior.

  • Joanne Louis

    As of Recently I have been overwhelmed with the feeling of not knowing what’s next. You see I am a senior in college this year, soon to graduate, and I don’t know what the next chapter in life will bring me. I have been desperately trying to find a career for after I graduate but I haven’t had any luck. They say your last semester is supposed to be the easiest but this is the most that I have been stressed out my whole college career. From School to working almost full time to having to endure stressful interviews I am overwhelmed. But I have found comfort in agreeing with what Gods word says about me. That I am more than a conqueror and that God is a man that cannot lie. I know that he has greater in store for me so until it happens I will wait, I will keep pressing on in his word and I will never lose my faith. Though I don’t know what next God has already made plans and provisions for me, so I’ll be ok. It is going to work exactly how he intended in the right time.

  • http://twashereaminuteago.blogspot.com LindaMarie

    I named my doggies Goodness and Mercy when I realized they were following me everywhere, it has been a continual reminder of grace.

    I am overwhelmed by the number of people in my life facing financial chaos. brothers. sisters. blood and spirit siblings.

    I shared this article on my blog today! It is such and encouragement.

  • Alison

    An unwell child. Sidelined by headaches, she’s 17 and not even able to go to school. Big dreams are all on hold. Oh help — this is so overwhelming. I’m on the edge of tears always.

  • http://www.toaprettylife.com Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    Overwhelmed. Yes, that’s me. My mom, only 61, moved into long term care yesterday. And at the same time I am responsible to pack up her nest of hoarded things and decide what to do with it, without hurting her or forcing her to give things up before she’s ready. She is clinging to the last vestige of control over her life, and it is so hard. So hard that she has a sharp young mind in a body that is betraying her. And, selfishly, It is hard to be the responsible one. The oldest. The one Mom leans on. My own home is in chaos while I try to make things easier for Mom.

  • a plain guy.

    Hey Ann, is this for women only? (I haven’t seen any posts with guy names that’s all)
    Cause I got stuff that overwhelm me.
    A paper that’s overdue, sister that’s dying, bad wifi, Syrian crisis, writers block, heartache, a broken shoelace…(just what I needed this morning), being in love with a lovely; beautifully plain girl, a jealous God and a desire to just make and serve tea to people despite my degree, and of course, a hope that’s there waiting for me every morning even on the days I don’t want it.
    Oh yes, mercy pursues, RADAPH. But somedays, I just wish I could get 5 minutes notice.

    I get lost when I run ahead of Him, so I’m learning each day to fall more and more behind, until I match his step.

    Inspiring blog Ann, thanks.

  • http://www.lolliesandlipsticks.com Camille Aguila

    I am overwhelmed. By chances of living somewhere far from my comfort zone, from waiting for things to happen and the uncertainty that comes with it, from all the pain that’s going through in my marriage. But thank you for reminding me. That goodness and mercy pursues me. You are a blessing from the Lord. And the Lord has been in constant reminder of this one to me.

    • Beth WIlliams

      Camille,

      Prayers for peace and comfort to overwhelm you. Prayers also for your marriage. May God change and soften hearts. Know this: “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” “To give you a hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11.

      It can be scary to live somewhere different, but it can exciting to start a fresh new life with God.

      Blessings :)

  • Shirley W

    I have this verse written on a card by my front door so I will see it each day as I leave the house!

  • Stephanie

    My husband’s cancer and the impact of this on our two sweet little girls.

  • http://johnandpunkytolson.com Punky Tolson

    Wow… did I ever need this NOW, and for the past three months. Radaph! Radaph! The goodness and mercy of my sweet God pursuing me passionately. Sometimes I feel like I’m treading water up to my nose…and nobody notices…and nobody can help. ! Thank you for reminding me not to forget that God does. Radaph! Radaph! That He’s chasing after me with new mercies every single day. Thank you, sweet Ann. Bless you.

  • http://TheNourishingHome.com Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

    This post came to my inbox yesterday, but I didn’t see it until today, because God knew today was the day I needed these words most. Thank you, sweet sister, for sharing this encouragement – it is SO needed and appreciated! Rather than being overwhelmed with anxiety, God wants us to be overwhelmed by His grace. I just love this reminder of God’s blessings upon us, and appreciate you being His instrument to keep us focused on His steadfast love and mercy. Thank you!

  • Beth

    As always very inspirational words and photos. Pick ONE thing? I’m so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to start picking!!! I hate it. I know this is a time to turn to God and I always turn away from Him. I need to write this verse down and keep it close by.
    My house is a tornado. My work is slipping out of my hands. My children dig their own laundry out of the baskets. My dogs do not get brushed or even petted some days. I can barely find the steering wheel in my truck because of all the build up in it. I have no energy. I’ve been so distracted that I melted something in the oven that I forgot I stashed there when company came over!!! I hate it.
    However, today’s blog helped me to put things in perspective. At least for about 5 minutes!!! ;)
    Thank you!

  • Sally

    Thank you. I needed to read this. To slow down and soak it all in kind of need to hear. Today I felt the sheer weight of my adoptive daughter’s past that clouds her future. I know God can give me strength. I pray God can do the same for her. Thanks for your oh so gentle words Ann.

  • Pam Gardner

    I feel like my life is overwhelming. Every day and almost every moment I must continually refocus my humble self to thank God for His grace and to find His grace in everything. I am doing better but every day is hard. This post really made me smile.
    I love your books Ann.

  • Deb

    I am overwhelmed with how to find joy in the now. I never thought I was a negative person, but as I am reading “One Thousand Gifts,” I have begun my own list, and at the same time I find myself struggling in my heart to see the gifts of now. I want to whine to God, to complain about how other people have wronged me, how life doesn’t seem fair. But then, where is the eucharisteo? I am wanting to see it, but struggling so. This is what is overwhelming me right now at this moment.

  • Lauren

    I have chronic fatigue so I’m in a constant state of being overwhelmed because I can never keep up with housework & everything else – including an active 7 yr old son, who’s our only child so he needs a lot of attention from us. THANK YOU so much for this post. I will put the verse up to remind me that God’s grace & mercy (not my to do list) are pursuing me. I thank God for you!

  • Karen

    Overwhelm has been my middle name the last few years. I have two little ones, constant migraines, numerous health problems, and depression. I have felt the miraculous pursuit of God’s goodness over and over. One thing I do that helps me is to kneel in my closet every morning, in the middle of the mess of life, the house, the children, the million things that need to be done, and pray, “Lord let me get done today what needs to be done, and leave undone those things that don’t need to be done.” I have seen this prayer answered many, many times, and it gives me security and purpose as I face long, dreary, painful, seemingly pointless days. Not everything needs to be done. And what is significant is often not what we instinctively prioritize!

  • Ana

    Not until I read this did I realize that I’ve always been running—doing, doing, doing because I believe what’s behind me is going to overtake me. Ann, if only I could express how life-changing it is to know that God is right there, chasing me with his goodness and mercy.

  • http://www.rhondisrosecoloredglasses.com Rhondi

    The thing that is overwhelming me right now is dealing our son’s addiction problem. When I get overwhelmed I find a promise in God’s word and cling to it. I am reminding myself of what Ephesians 3:20 says.

  • Beth WIlliams

    Ann,

    My thing that overwhelms is work or lack there of. My husband works in medicine, but some days doesn’t have a lot of patients. He is scared that he will be let go due to lack of work.

    I do my best to encourage him. God is even better at that than I am. One day listening to Pandora radio on internet I heard the most perfect song. “It is Well With My Soul” by Chris Rice. That song just spoke volumes to me as does your post! Radaph radaph! Praise God he chases after us to bless us!

    When things go crazy and we lose sleep over the economy I just sit and listen to that CD and it calms me down. Also know that God pursues nah chases after me will comfort me.

    Thanks and Blessings :)

  • Melanie

    Dear ones in the comments above, who have shared heartaches and soul-wrenching trials, betrayals and hurts,

    The truth is… This world HAS trouble! I don’t know any of you, yet my heart hurt over what is overwhelming you. I want to talk with all of you, infuse some encourage not, or share tears in empathy…. I understand! As a fellow sojourner on this big rock hurtling through space, I’ve faced my own trials (such a small word to sum up my. heart-ripping challenges).

    The last event nearly steamrolled my spiritual life. So much ripping, a whole life lost… A friend gave me A Thousand Gifts while my world was unraveling. I threw it in the corner after the first chapter! Too raw, too real, too much of my own story’s beginning. But that cover… It beckoned me. So I read it. (well bawled through it, highlighted it, tried to savor it slow, hungrily devoured, etc). It was a powerful read.

    But if you just read, you will miss the best of Ann’s book…

    Dear one, if you are weary and burdened and steam rolled flat, GET A PEN! A piece of paper, and start with number one.

    I encourage you as one who wondered if there is anything to this numbering gifts thing. Physically numbering, naming, writing… Yes. Truly there is. You need them most when life is black. When earth is rock hard and your fingers ache with trying to dig for them. The beauty in the ugly? What can I see? The tears of a friend sharing my grief, the words on a blog from a stranger, the sun trying to fight its way out from behind gray clouds…. There is always goodness and mercy — grace and gifts — in the black. I know because I’ve seen Him.

    When the bottom of my world fell out, He was there.

    Dear one who is overwhelmed, if you thank Him for one… Just one… He will show you more than a thousand besides.

    Please GET A PEN — right now — and letting thanking, searching, and digging for His gifts change your life.

    • Beth WIlliams

      Melanie,

      You are spot on! When life gets tough & you feel like no one cares or you want to just quit–it’s time to take stock. I have a thankful journal. I start with a main list and daily add what blessed me that day. You would be surprised how many items we take for granted.

      That can be hard when life is falling apart, but that’s what it takes to pull yourself out of the pit and realize that God is there right beside you giving you a loving, helping hand!!

      Blessings :)

  • http://www.theemissarysfeet.wordpress.com Jhunnelle

    I so needed these words, thank you Ann for writing and sharing this.

    And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus. These words make me cry.

  • http://pamelahaddix.com Pam H.

    I was so moved to hear about “radaph” in Ps.23:6 that I wanted to look it up and look for other uses of the word besides Gen. 14. So I opened BibleHub.net, which I use often, and clicked to get the Hebrew for the verse so I could then click on “radaph” to find every use. But according to this site, “radaph” is not the Hebrew word used in Ps.23:6 (a word used just that once in scripture and for “follow” in most translations) OR Gen.14 (though it is a word that means “pursue”). So now I’m just confused and bummed, and want to find out why different concordances might have different Heb./Grk words.

    I’m not telling you this to be critical at all, but just thought you should know. If you have any insight into this discrepancy, let me know. I appreciate your ministry and insights!

  • pat

    This just made me believe more. I have been battling addiction to drugs. I have been using since was 12yrs old. I have seen some of my best friends die from this disease. I almost died when I was 13 from drinking too much and choking on my throw up. I have seen some and done some horrible things to due to the life I was living. But I always had this gut feeling that I was meant to do something more with my life. During my 12yrs using I always felt like something else was pushing me and allowing me to continue to live when I didn’t really want to. This can be only the work of god. Now I have 1yr and 7months of sobriety on march 17 I truly know that I am a child of god and the feeling that I always had was the gift he gave me to help people who are sick and struggling with this disease.

  • Deb

    For my sisters walking the rocky road of a loved one with Alzheimer’s……. I have walked this road for 17 years with 3 parents (both my parents, dh’s father, and my mil is starting to slip.). It can be a long, difficult road. Wish I could give you each a hug and share a cup of tea. But I can give you this: there is a wonderful book out there called “Psalms for the Caregiver.”. It is written in devotional style, keeping in mind that often caregivers don’t have more than a few minutes.

    Ann, thanks for telling me about the pursuit. After my last week it was definitely a drink from the still waters and helped to restore my soul.

    The lady who wrote it walked through Alzheimer’s with first her mom and then her husband. She. Gets. It. She keeps pointing you back to God as your source of wisdom and strength. It has been a balm to my soul. It is available in both print and most electronic formats.

  • Karen S

    Ann, oh how I needed this word. I so relate to you saying “how when a new week starts to run after me”. Have really felt that way lately, like the to do’s are closing in on me, week after week relentlessly chasing me. Have literally ran over some folks feelings lately trying to tackle my to do’s and how that breaks my heart to realize it. Oh to stop and let him pursue me. To receive His chasing. Lord help me to stop and breath in your goodness, to see all your mercies.

  • kae

    What a beautiful reminder. The thing that tends to overwhelm me is living with a husband who was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder three years after we were married. This diagnosis came at the same time he walked away from his faith. A few years ago, I finally realized I couldn’t fix him or our marriage, and gave my attempts for control to Jesus. On the days where I fix my eyes on Jesus and remind myself who HE is, things are good. When I forget and begin to listen to the voice of the accuser, I feel sad, angry, and lonely. Thursday, my birthday, I listened to the wrong voice. Before going to bed, I knew I needed to hear words of life, so I listened to the song, Healing is in Your Hands, by Christy Nockels. She sang, “No mountain, no bakery, no gain or loss we know could keep us from your love.” Thanks, Ann for reminding me that goodness and mercy are not just pursuing me, but my precious husband as well.

    • Beth WIlliams

      Kae,

      Prayers for strength and courage to carry on in your marriage. May God tenderly give you words you need to hear. I pray that He gives you His tender loving touches and much much grace & mercy!

      Father God,

      Please send strength and courage to Kae. Give her ALL the words from you she needs to hear while living with her husband. Tenderly love her and shower her with grace and mercy!

      AMEN!

  • kae

    *valley, not bakery…..:-)

  • http://songskatesang.com/ Kate @ Songs Kate Sang

    Oh, don’t you just love learning the original meaning of words! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Cynthia

    I am chased by God. When I read this, I just breathed deep and felt my load was lighter somehow. I don’t feel rushed–only relaxed. Thank you God for loving me so much.

  • Julia Zarbnisky

    What’s the one thing that is most overwhelming you? What’s one thing that has most helped you when feeling overwhelmed?
    …currently, I am most overwhelmed by my husband’s recent diagnosis of stage 4 endocrine cancer.
    Tough journey. The biggest help is knowing nothing happens without God knowing, caring, and sustaining me.
    Learning of “radaph” adds a layer of comfort and contentment to daily activities. Thank you

  • maggie

    Overwhelmed by the reaction of hatred from 15 year old granddaughter when she found out that after all these years of being an only child, her mother was going to have another child. Her parents thought they would not have any more since it never happened again, until now. My comfort is that this little one is a gift, and is being knitted together in the womb of my daughter by the very hands of God. We are praying that as the time draws near, she will accept the fact that God does not hate her.

  • Theresa

    For me, I am overwhelmed with parenting two teenage daughters. I look at these beautiful young women who I gave birth to and I don’t KNOW them! I have no idea where they have gone and I feel like such a failure as a mother. There are numerous reasons for my feeling this way-perhaps I should have been harder on them. Perhaps I should have kept them away from the children they befriended. I tend to isolate, so I don’t have many friends – and to be honest, the ones I have, I don’t feel I can openly confide in. Maybe I’m embarrassed. Maybe I don’t think they’ll understand because they don’t have teenage girls. It’s so much easier to parent when you don’t have children (if you know what I mean). I am in a pit of dispair.

    • http://onegirlriot.com Stacy

      Theresa, I could have written your post (except I have two sons.)

      I still slip into that pit sometimes, but the times are fewer and farther apart now, and I think what’s saved me is reading the Word. I know that –I guess?–sounds simplistic and like I’m patting you on the back and handing you a lollypop, or something. I don’t know, maybe that’s just how I’d feel if someone had told me this even as recently as last summer.

      Here is what I know: reading the Bible has pulled me from the pit like nothing else could.
      And I don’t mean just reading verses about hope and faith and love. I mean–just reading it. I started in Ecclesiastes because it was the only book I could relate to.
      Then I moved to Proverbs, and then Hebrews, and Ephesians… I’m in Matthew now, listening to it on CD because I forget so easily.

      I feel for you. I think most moms feel like failures for any number of reasons, and we all forget that there is grace for us, too.

      I prayed for you today that you would see God’s grace for you.

  • Lisa

    I have a 17 year old son who has made some very bad choices and I don’t really know where to turn. I have hope in my Jesus but because of the situation that he has gotten himself into I find myself falling into a pit of depression. I love my 1,000 gifts book and devotional and will continue to turn to God’s word to get me through this dark time. Thank you Ann for your reminding me that God’s goodness and mercy pursues me everyday-I know I won’t walk alone through this trial.

  • http://www.liveintheround.com Kim Kintner

    One of the best things I do when feeling overwhelmed is to close myself in the laundry room with a cup of coffee & pray/read God’s word for a few minutes. It helps me to regroup to be able to live my life purposely loving those around me.

  • Sarah S

    Thanks Ann. I have felt like I was being chased…afraid…tired…worn…confused…lost. I needed to be reminded that it is grace and mercy that is pursuing me. At some point each day I find I must restart my brain. Who am I? What do I like? What do I want in my life? Who do I want in my life? What is most important? I’ve been learning some things. Family. My heritage. Knowing my history and the history of our nation…Remembering…this is what faith is all about. Faith is really remembering where you came from. One father. One mother. Joined together by the Holy Spirit who brings life. Raised in Love. I keep restarting and remembering.

  • http://www.byamygrace.com Amy Grace

    Finally just read this, and it is beautiful ! Ann you never seize to supply life words that burst into fire works when they are read.

  • Ashley

    I’m a SAHM of 3 little ones -4,2, 4mo. My husband is a self employed diesel mechanic. I am out of contact with my mother who was never much of a mother and most all of my relatives work full time and I don’t see them much.
    I burnt out and feel like I’m fighting the battle alone. I’m surrounded my people (my children) all day long but feel completely alone.
    I pray, I read the word, but I’m defeated.
    I need a break. I need to find myself again because I have lost myself somewhere in the chaos of caring for everyone but me.

    I find some sanity and encouragement in music. Sometimes I just need to dance.

    I love your writing Ann, and your words are really encouraging.