About the Author

Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby, Ellie, Kate, Charlotte, and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born, April 7th, 2008. Angie was inspired to write Audrey's story, and began the blog www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com in honor of her. You...

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  1. Thanks Angie. This is so beautiful and real.

    I feel tossed in waves right now…swallowing water instead of surfing. And this abiding thing, it’s what I go back to all the time, but lately? I’ve been too busy to abide. (Cough!) I know, and that must be the answer. Thanks Angie. I need to start heading to shore, building sandcastles with Jesus, watching the waves, and enjoying His Presence.

  2. It is so good to ‘hear’ from you again. I’ve been checking your blog regularly. <3 Thank you for sharing what's been on your heart. I've always read that scripture as "The Lord's joy" too. It's been a long season for our family of feeling tossed by the waves…it's so good to remember our safe harbor. Thank you!

  3. This really spoke to me today… I have been ‘rescuing’ my 19-y.o. son for years…doing things only a mom can do, right? No one can understand the troubles he’s faced, or the trials he’s having to go through but me, right? In my past jobs, his needs came first — often leaving work for court, or some other trouble. Even when my son was in jail, I thought I could still save him… I thought I could influence the judge to understand what place my child was coming from… I did pray for him, and I did SAY he’s in God’s hands…but kept taking him back into mine…
    After all I’ve done… he has now chosen to go to the other side of the country by his dad… and is in jail there. Now all I can think is, but your dad won’t put you first, he won’t visit you, won’t comfort you when you feel sad — you won’t even know how to tell him those things… and I feel so helpless! But your words, “So I’m going to make my way to the sand, take a few steps back, and watch in wonder as You redeem what I thought was lost.”… those words tell me that this is my time to step back and let God redeem what I fear may be lost… I hold hope in my heart that he isn’t… but I now take hold of the Joy of the Lord for my strength…

    • God bless you as you step back. Your story pricks at my heart. I’m praying for you right now. You are brave & powerful! Let God do His work.

    • I’m walking through some very preliminary letting go with my just turned teen. It carries no where near the weight of what you are experiencing, but watching my children feel pain, physical or otherwise, for anything including deliberate choices, drops the bottom right out of my stomach.

      Prayers for you today Karen!!! I think you’d also gain a lot of comfort from the following post at Ann VosKamp’s site.

      http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/05/when-strong-mamas-feel-quite-weak/

    • Karen,

      Praying for a sense of peace for you and your son. Perhaps this is God’s way of making you step back and let Him do His wonderful work.

      Lord,

      Please surround Karen and her son with your loving, caring arms. Help them to feel the warmth and security that only you can provide.

      AMEN!

  4. “Are you being called there with me? ” – YES.
    ” To the place of abiding instead of mustering strength?” -YES! Same
    “If you are,know I have saved a spot for you right beside me” -Grabbing your hand in reassuring friendship
    “and I welcome you to the place with the most beautiful view this life can offer:” -Basking in that view more and more.
    So reaffirming…your words reflecting right where I am at.

  5. I’m a bit exhausted from swimming (flailing is more like it) in the deep, too. I graciously accept your invitation to position myself on the shore and wait with joy, thanksgiving and confident expectation while he works all things out for my good and his glory. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. “Are you being called there with me? ” – YES.
    “To the place of abiding instead of mustering strength?” -YES! Same
    “If you are,know I have saved a spot for you right beside me” -Grabbing your hand in reassuring friendship
    “and I welcome you to the place with the most beautiful view this life can offer:” -Basking in that view more and more.
    So reaffirming…your words reflecting right where I am at.

  7. Wow did this hit right into my soul. I have tears in my eyes as I, too, put myself in as the role of “fixer”, “savior”, “they need ME”, etc…. And there is NO joy in being (or trying to be) that person to everyone. It leaves me exhausted, resentful, and drained (and yes, even angry). But you’re right, I do it to myself. There’s a huge part of me that feels like the drowning is at least SOMETHING and that there’s something oddly “noble” in doing it. Oh to rest on the shore and trust The Lord with the details. To take what was never meant to be mine to fix and let Him handle it. I keep thinking this pattern of behavior is selfless, when actually it’s self-centered. No wonder the joy has been obsolete… I’ve yet to actually take refuge in The Lord. I thank you so much for sharing this…

  8. When I first saw the photo – I thought, “I’d like to be there – hearing the waves crash against the rocks, watching the foaming tide change the landscape, feeling the surf’s mist on my face. Then, as I read – I thought of Psalm 107 – and, oh, by the way, I cannot swim – at all! My husband says I am rock-bottomed. 😀 And, figuratively, I’ve been struggling with some of those rock-bottomed heartaches, too. But, we all have that safe harbour, that quiet shelter, place of refuge (been listening to My Sanctuary – Jeff Wood) – and, all we need to do is ask – Phil 4:19

  9. Very, very nice post. Thank you. I have been learning the same thing! And it all works in tandem with Proverbs 3:5-6, which states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” As in, no weird little side trips, which I am so sick and tired of making. These sidetrips are the offshore flailing you are talking about. Relaxing into the current and letting it take you where you need to go—that’s where I want to be. Finding the current is the first step, and these verses in Proverbs help to get us there…look up to the Lord. Seek His face and none other. Trust in Him and not on our own understanding. Submit to Him….there you go. And then comes the joy.

  10. Oh my goodness, I asked God to just give me a sign that all is going to get better in my life and I read this devotion this morning. God is so good, all the time. I don’t see how things can turn around, but my God does and I too accept your invitation to walk to the sand, take a few steps back , and watch as my God redeems what I thought was lost…Thank you Angie for these words today, they have really spoken to my mind, heart, soul and spirit…

  11. How did you know? This is how I have been feeling since day 1 of my grad school program. It’s how I feel before walking into a session with a client; just trying, kicking, struggling for one quick breath before the anxiety (waves) crash over my head, pushing me under. It also reminds me of the story you shared at Women of Faith about Peter looking at the water instead of to Jesus standing right in front of him. Looking forward reminds me of Paul saying keeping our eyes focused ahead to the glorious future, or something like that. Why is it so difficult to believe, really believe, that he has me and will never let go? Sigh. I’m learning right along with you. It is comforting to know I am not alone. Thank you for your insight and honesty. I hope I will be meeting you at the shore soon…

  12. So thankful for your post this morning. I have been through 5yrs of a trial that has torn my faith and heart into pieces.I need His joy yet feel cut away from Jesus. I know this is a lie yet it screams constantly.In a small church where there is much gossip and judgement, when the friends u thought would be there forever desert you. The waves came in two’s sometimes three’s. Trying to stand now on the shore with wobbley knees but I feel exhausted. Trying so very hard to believe but the core of my spirit feels so dry. I have joked that I am a female Job yet my laughter is hollow. Please pray for me. Pray I can rest and heal in His arms, pray for my faith and soul to be healed. That this pruned tree that looks dead will blossom in the spring bringing more fruit than ever before. That I may truly mean it as well as Job “Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him”
    Thank you Mary

    • Mary, that is such a painful place to be and I am so very sorry that you had to experience that in a place where it should have been the exact opposite. I will be praying for your heart to be fully healed and restored.

    • Mary

      Praying for you right now!@

      Lord Jesus,

      Restore joy, peace and happiness to Mary. Help her feel your love & warmth in those mighty arms of yours. Please help her rest & heal & not feel like a female Job. Give her back the laughter & contentment she once had.

      In Jesus Name I Pray AMEN!

  13. Feeling joy because we trust the One who made the waves is what shelters us from the tossing of the waves.

    Standing next to you on the shore, I remember my image of safety in the crashing waves. I am three or four and my Dad’s hands hold mine and as a wave comes, looming larger than me, he says, “Jump!” and I jump and he pulls too, and I am lifted clear out of the water, only my toes touching the foam, and down again into knee deep surf.

    I have always loved the crashing waves after that. The real ones I mean. Sometime, newly married, I felt the loss of my daddy’s lift (he wasn’t responsible for me anymore) and had to transfer all of that dependence to my Heavenly Father. My verse, that I struggle to take hold of and to obey, is James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy…” and there’s a bit about being tossed about in the waves there too.

    Praising God for you, Angie!

  14. I’m like you, I’ve always been the person who thinks they can save others. Not in the way the Savior did, of course, but by being the peacemaker and solving their problems. If I could just share that message with everyone, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” then my work is done through Him. 🙂

  15. This was perfect for today. I have been swimming for so long and have often turned to that verse to try to stay afloat, but your interpretation of the joy that comes from a safe harbor – nothing short of amazing. It was just what I needed to hear and just where I need to go. Thank you!

  16. Angie thank you for these words today, I constantly need this reminder. Control of circumstances is normally the last thing I want to let go of, and I can completely identify with think I can save people out of my own strength. Yet when I release control and embrace God’s will and timing I am blown away by the strength that comes from Him alone. It’s difficult in the moment, but the end result exceeds my imagination.

  17. this could have been written to me…..all morning (of course, this and that got in my way of doing my devotions FIRST), i felt God asking me to come, sit, for He had something to share with me…that would touch a place in my heart that i, and professional help, have been trying to get me to find. your post just sums it all up!
    so much work left to do, but, for this moment, i will stand on the beach….and watch what my God will do in ALLLLLLLL these situations that are overwhelming my heart.
    so thank you! and God bless you for doing the hard work of acknowledging….and thank you, Lord!!!! i listened..and i have heard!!!!

  18. I’ve been flailing around in the water all my life thinking I’ve been saving people too! God brought me to the shore just over a year ago and it does make a lot more sense to let him do the work rather than pretend that I could actually be a saviour. Very happy to be sitting beside you, I’m ready to marvel at the view of the Lord with you.

  19. Angie, you are a gift from God this morning. I have been drowning. Drowning in all it is that I feel I have to do, all it is that I DO have to do, and all it is that God desires me to do. For the last three days I have felt shaken, fragile, vulnerable and just raw. I have a deadline to meet for a Bible study I am writing, homeschool to finish up with 3 of my five children, a house to keep, a husband to encourage who is studying intensively to become a pastor, bills that are piling up and no money to pay them, applying for food stamps, you name it, it’s mine. I am a tired mama. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. This morning I was getting dressed while children screamed and ran outside my door, grumbling to God about how I cannot possibly have another day like “this”. Now don’t get me wrong, I do rely on Him (only reason I make it through the day!), and He is doing very very intensive work in my heart. Painful intensive. Cranky making intensive. Enemy wooing intensive. To where I just want to take a tent and go sleep in a field for a few days just to have some peace. Standing there trying not cry as pressure builds up in my chest, covering up the dark circles under my eyes and waiting for the person from Texas Health and Human Services to call me, I hear most distinctly in my mind,”The joy of the Lord is your strength.” No. Joke. And through this morning I heard it several other times in the midst of chaos. Like you, I had no idea where it was in the Bible, and quite frankly I did not have the moment to stop and run to the computer to figure it out. Truth be told, I was a little annoyed about it. My brain immediately said,”Joy?? What joy is there to be found in the state of my heart now??” Yours was the last devotional I read today. Sometimes, I don’t even make it to all of the ones I do read. The last one. The one I NEEDED to read. The one I am going to read over a few times and pray that God causes it to sear into my heart so I truly am healed by that verse. Change stinks, it hurts, but I need it. I thank you for writing about this and for sharing it. I am always the one taking care of everyone else, lifting them up, making sure everything runs smoothly, and today, I needed tending to so very desperately. Thank you for filling that gap today. <3

    • I am praying for you Michelle… your comments touched my heart to do so. Hang in there – peace is coming…. He promised. =)

      • Because I was also prompted the same way by the Lord as He worked in Lina’s heart…

        I just prayed for you, Michelle. We maybe thousands of miles away and we may not know each other personally, but I praise God for the gift and opportunity of prayers.

        The Lord bless your heart and may He reign supreme in your family!

  20. Thank you for this blog… I too have been learning this very same thing! I could have written Your same paragraph – “Ever since I was a little girl, there was a voice in my head that told me I had to save everyone else, and I’ve listened. I’ve actually believed that I know what’s best (which I don’t) and that I’m capable of rescuing (I’m not). So that was kind of a rude awakening.” In my growing up experience my Dad would get very depressed and say that ” I can’t do it anymore, I might as well end it all” and it would be my job to save him from himself. In our family suicide was a reality for too many (4 to be exact) so it really felt like I WAS his savior… this set me on my life path of saving everyone in my path. Or so I thought.
    A year ago my Dad passed away. This oddly freed me from my need to save people and now God is teaching me a new path. A new direction. And it is so refreshing!

    Thanks again for speaking my words too! God bless.

  21. To tell you the truth, even after 45 years of knowing the Lord and reading His Word, this is the best description I have ever heard of this verse.
    Thanks for this today!
    May He continue to bless you, rescue you, and keep on giving you much wisdom to share! 🙂

  22. Wow – your words are packed with power today. Life-giving, Holy Spirit power! I know the savior-complex intimately and am joining the beach party. The responses to your words have moved my heart to honest connection that’s rare. Thanks Angie!

  23. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have been kicking and fit-pitching a lot. It helps to have a much deeper understanding of strength and joy. Thank you so much.

  24. Amen. My eyes are tearing up right now because that is what the Lord has been telling me since yesterday. I woke up sad, anxious, panicked and I quickly ran to Phillipians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…” but then decided to read a little back from 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice”; I didn’t know what it meant and as I meditated upon it, I kept asking what it means to rejoice in the Lord and the Lord was giving me Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength” I wanted to confess it because I needed to remedy my situation but I did not know what it meant. Then I read a post on facebook from a friend about how the joy of the Lord is my strength; and then today,I found this in my email. Thank you. I am on this journey with you.

  25. I have a small card with ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength’ on my window sill and it has always comforted, but your post has made a new connection for me in reminding me, a chronic “I can save the situation / other people” person, of the fact that I can’t save anyone and I need to stand on the shore and watch those waves crashing, all the while abiding in the harbour of His strength. Thanks for your words.
    x Natasha

  26. Thank you….. My heart has been heavy as my struggle has increased (my fault) for not releasing those burdens that were not mine to carry, and for trying to “fix” some in my family. This has been a very hard season as my daughter and granddaughter have both now spent time in jail recently. My daughter will probably be going to prison and my granddaughter has chosen some very dangerous friends. My heart breaks for my grandson who is with me. God has been showing me this is not mine to “fix”; that I can do nothing, but He can do everything! It is so hard to step back and take my hands off, but as I take tiny steps I am no longer drowning. I am not swimming yet, but I am getting there. I know my God has these things in His hands and He is always working, and I am breathing, trying not to do those things which didn’t work before.
    Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your heart….. It is always good to read, hear and know there are others struggling as well.

  27. Angie,

    Such a heart wrenching beautiful post!

    I have been drowning, a bit, in self-pity and regret. Years ago I chose a career field that I thought would be good for me–Oh so wrong. As time has passed I find it to be totally untrue. Now I’m in a job where I feel unrespected and not given a chance. This has caused my attitude to change & not for the better.

    Trouble is I take this attitude home & spread it around. Thankfully I am now sitting on the shore letting Him do the work in me & just praying about situation!

    Praying for everyone here!@ May God bless you all & heal your hurts with His perfect healing touch!

  28. Oh how God blessed me with this today. Thank you so much for sharing from your sweet soul. I picked up a copy of Mended in March at a Living Proof conference. God has used you words beautifully in my life. May blessings return upon you and yours.

  29. I’ll join you. Oh, will I join you. This has been my journey lately, also, and this is a much more beautiful and positive picture then I have yet been given. Thank you so much!

  30. Years ago my mom was in a difficult situation and she said that what really helped was the scripture “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. At the time it didn’t make sense to me but I could see it was comfort to her. After going through my own struggles over the years, I had the epiphany you had and I now know what that scripture means!