The dog let out a howl in his sleep this morning at 4 a.m.

Low. Weird. Totally annoying. I awoke, startled, but fell back to sleep, dreaming that our oldest, who just started high school, was attending my university alma mater’s rival school across town. No, he can’t go to school there!

Breathing Eden - overwhelmed

We are living in a cozy space this fall, displaced from our home due to a house remodel. The kids are in three different schools for the first time. There is a lot of driving now, meetings with contractors, trying to not get overwhelmed by a book launch. Oh, and Justin and I are working on another writing project together, too.

In the evenings, with our family crowded into a single room, we watch the Olympics, the TV blaring too late into the night. There have been a few nights, when I have had deadlines, that I have had to crawl into the bedroom closet, across from the bathroom, and write. Earbuds in my ears, cranking up music by Jonathan David Helser or Lauren Daigle.

This album is on repeat when I write now.

Crazy? Good? Too full, God? Can you help me keep my eyes on You?

I feel God’s closeness when I am writing–it is one of the ways I am better able to listen for Him. So, writing in the closet, upon suitcases where we have kept our clothes stored since June, has not been such a bad place to be.

But there is more for me, I know. There is more for me than work—for scouting for scraps of margin, hope of restoration, in the fringe hours.

How can I find You, God, when I am overwhelmed?

How can God speak to our hearts when we are in a busy, distracted place? Can we even hear Him then? Is it possible? What does God have to say about us feeling overwhelmed?

Three women you find in Breathing Eden-—each very different, ask God the same question.

God, help me. I am overwhelmed.

And He answers.

Breathing Eden - overwhelmed

Breathing Eden - overwhelmed - KelsieThere is Kelsie, who travels the world. She feels overwhelmed. She feels God’s nudge to go out and love people in other countries. But she questions whether she has anything to offer, especially when she can’t fix the hurt, the pain, she sees. She asks God, “How do You love this whole world? How can I do it?” She fears that she won’t be able to connect or help people so different from her in any meaningful way.

Lucy - Breathing Eden - overwhelmedThere is Lucy, a young stay-at-home mom, struggling with identity after giving up a high profile career. She is overwhelmed by this transition—wanting to do a good job taking care of her small children while being afraid that she is failing. She asks God, “Who am I? How can I do all this well?” She fears she won’t be a good mom. More than anything, she feels guilty for feeling frustrated, for not having it all together, for struggling in parenting and messing up her children somehow, due to her personal inadequacies. (Where is the instruction manual on parenting?)

Breathing Eden - Bridget - overwhelmedThere is Bridget, a single, business executive living in the big city. Bridget has a demanding job that stretches her beyond her comfort zone. She is willing to take risks, though, trusting that Jesus is with her and will equip her to do what He wants her to do. She asks Jesus, “Do You care about my work?” She fears she can’t keep up with the responsibilities, that she won’t succeed in reaching her goals.

There is a bit of me in each of these women. What about you?

Watch the video, “You are okay”:

If you have pre-ordered Breathing Eden, you have received the first five advance chapters and have heard what God says to Lucy. Would you like to hear me read aloud to you Bridget and her conversation with God?

Breathing Eden - overwhelmed

For Oasis Audio, who has put together our audiobook for Breathing Eden, I recorded some demo files of me reading the book. For those of you who have pre-ordered, I will be sending to you today the audio file of me reading to you the conversation Bridget has with God-—and His response back! The audio file also includes the Listen, Think, Trust, and Prayer exercises for Bridget’s conversation—exercises that help you respond to the story so you can have your own conversation with God.

If you haven’t yet pre-ordered, don’t wait! And then make sure you email me your receipt from Amazon so you can get your free gifts. Only pre-orders will receive the gifts of the advance first five chapters, the ebook, Prayers for the Women of Breathing Eden, and the audio file of “Bridget: Behind Elevator Doors” (a story in Breathing Eden not included in the advance chapters)! (Click here to learn about all the other free gifts from pre-ordering.)

How are you feeling overwhelmed? How do you ache for God to respond to this feeling, right here, right now?

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Showing 21 comments
  • Melanie Hawkins
    Reply

    Ty

  • Camille Thomas
    Reply

    Overwhelmed and Clueless is how I feel right now. I’m alone in a state with my 11 yr old son. No help or support from his father since he remarried. My family is scattered in different states and are busy with their own lives. My life consist of work and church. The friends I made since being here is very few, they’re busy too so I don’t have an outlet to socialize with anyone. No one seems interested enough to want to know what’s going on with me. I’ve tried reaching out to my pastor and I get no response. I feel like a bottle of soda that’s been shaken and ready to explode. My job is not meeting my needs financially and I’ve been looking for another job. My car was recently repossessed and I have been trying to get it back. I pray, I cry, I beg, I pray some more and cry some more and beg some more but nothing is happening. I don’t know what else to do besides give up and I’m not a quitter.

    • Shalisa Anthony
      Reply

      Dear Sista… I just read your message and it touched my heart. I understand what it is to have hopes dashed and dreams disappear even as you hold them…. and it’s worse when you have responsibilities. However, all I can say is… Jesus IS real. Not an airy-fairy type of Jesus, but the reality that, even when you’re back is against the wall, He is there AND will make a way out. What also came to mind when I read comment is a word which God has recently been ministering to me with:
      “Be still and know that I am God”. (Psalm 46:10). As someone who’s a natural “doer”, that verse is like kryptonite to me…! However, it’s those times when it looks and feels like it’s all falling apart that, somehow, somewhere, in the midst of the madness, that God’s Spirit just whispers: “Be still… and… KNOW that I AM God”. If you just take few seconds to breathe that into yourself, I believe God’s Holy Spirit will use it to medicate your needs.
      And finally sista… I pray with & for you. I pray you will be willing to be still long enough to be able to hear and to know, I mean, intimately know God, on a deeper level.
      Be blessed and encouraged and know this… you are NOT alone.
      Shalisa, London UK

    • Brenda
      Reply

      My Sister,
      Though I do t know you, My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you. You are loved.

      Brenda

    • Lola
      Reply

      Father God I ask you to meet the needs of my sister right now as only You can do. Give her the patience and reassurance she needs to know that You are omnipotent and omniscient and in control of her situation even now. Bless her son as he sees his mom go through. Cover them both with your peace that surpasses all understanding. Lead her to a pastor and church family that she can fellowship with and where she can grow in her relationship with You. I ask this in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen

      Be encouraged Camille. Do not give up. God bless!

    • Kimberley
      Reply

      You story sounds so much like mines. The only difference is I’m in the state with al my family and I still don’t have a support team. I work and go to church and yet I feel so alone and useless. Dealing with my lack in every area and my health issues I too want to just give up, but I know I can but most days its a real struggle. I will be praying for you keep your head

  • Laura
    Reply

    I feel very overwhelmed some days, most days…I have 3 children and I’m raising 2 of my nephews. The oldest one is autistic and that in itself is overwhelming. I admit (shamefully) that I lose my patience, along with my temper, a lot and then I feel guilty and cry I’m the bathroom. I resent my brother for not wanting to take his children back because he’s afraid and feels it’s easier for me to raise the because I’m already a parent. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time with drop offs and pick ups and I fee like I can’t hear God amidst the screaming, fighting, the melt downs and all the tattling…I feel like I can’t breathe sometimes. But I don’t give up. I crawl into bed feeling defeated some days, but I just press into God more and more knowing that no matter what I “feel” He is there with me at every moment eager to trade yokes with me. Overwhelmed is almost a part of my character description now a days, but I know God didn’t create me for this. My spirit battles my flesh every day to not give up and just do things my way. Thank you for your writings, Jennifer, the loop emails help me get started on the right foot.

  • Shalisa Anthony
    Reply

    Dear Laura,
    I left work last year, following a serious accident (I fell between a train & the platform & God literally picked me up & saved me….!!!!) & decided to look after my elderly disabled mother full time. WELL…! I have screamed, had several meltdowns, ranted and raved at both my mother AND God (and yes, I’m embarrassed too!) But one thing I’m beginning to understand: as spirit beings, we need to operate the Word of God into our situations (didn’t God create the world through His Word…?)

    One of my favourite texts is Psalm 61:1-2: “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

    I have cried this out to God on several occasions and have told Him:
    “GOD! I don’t know where to go, how to get there, where to turn; so YOU have to lead me! I can’t see any way out, Father God, so YOU have to lead me! I am stretched beyond my breaking point – please lead me, show me, guide me and TAKE me to the Rock, that is higher than I! I can’t take it anymore and I’m tired of faking it, God! If YOU don’t take me, then what’s the point? I really can’t go on!”

    Once the Word is applied, I have found there’s a supernatural healing and a peace which comes – but I don’t always realise it until a little while later. In the midst of everything, somehow and in some way, God will just take the sting, the pain, the extra heaviness off from my shoulders and give me peace – and it’s only when I realise, a couple of hours later that hey, I don’t “feel” so bad any more, that I begin to understand and to recognise the power of His love, grace and mercy!

    I just want to encourage and remind you that yes, God IS right there with you; for He promised to “never leave nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 – that’s what I use for my screensaver!) I sincerely pray and ask God to show up in a tangible and real way in your circumstances. He might decide to leave you there for a little while longer, but as long as YOU can sense His presence, then know that it will ALL a-ok! Romans 8:28. God bless – and you’re NOT alone, in Jesus name.

    • Laura
      Reply

      Shalisa, thank you so much. I recently read through the Psalms purposely because of the anguish in the cries but the rejoicing regardless. It isn’t always easy at times but I do know to speak His word. And you’re right, I will (not always instantly) feel His peace on me. Thank you for the encouragement and the reminder. May God bless you ?

  • LKV
    Reply

    Hi, I pre ordered the Breathing Eden book , but I can not find the email address to send my Amazon receipt. Can anyone assist?

  • Jenny
    Reply

    Having just read all of the above, I too feel somewhat overwhelmed when thinking of all my family, friends, and MYSELF too – all in this state. A state of such desperate need for our wonderful Father and his divine intervention, interruption, and rescue. If he doesn’t do this we are going to fall over. My heart goes out and fills with compassion to you all; we do need HIM so much, but let me tell you something I’ve been discovering: He absolutely loves it when we cry out to him, when we lean on him so heavily that if he moves we will fall over, when we have no plans B or C, when we look to him with utmost dependence as the only one who can change our lives and circumstances. He loves it. That’s his best time and opportunity to help, rescue, love, provide, restore.

    I can say that because he does it for me. When I’m overwhelmed – and it feels like that is my whole life’s condition right now – he carries me. Why? Because I’m spiritually disabled when trying to walk on my own. I (we) can only make it through our lives when he carries us in his massive open hands of grace. Motivated by love and mercy…… So endless that he will never run out of it. All he wants is for me to ask, then allow, him to do it.

    • Laura
      Reply

      ?? thank you for this. It’s hard to remember that He does in fact love for us to come to Him for comfort when we’re losing it.

  • Amy
    Reply

    Thank you. Especially overwhelmed and, like you, writing to God, for others, for my soul, for my clients and budding ministry and yet doing so in the midst of complete transition. I long for order, peace…something that quiet the din created by the absence of both of those. Your words, reassurances and just knowing great women of God are struggling similarly helps me to feel not quite so alone in my struggle, nor ashamed to even be in it at all.

  • Nichole Renee
    Reply

    My overwhelmed landed me with an overnight stay In the hospital this past Thursday with jaw discomfort and left arm numbness not sure what the outcome but calling on the Jehovah Raphe to heal and take away the worry trying to remember Matthew 6:34, trying to remember to trust God and cast my cares to Him. I am not super woman, I am Gods daughter and I need to keep close to Him so desperately in theses times. Family, finances, try to work as a caregiver yet my own need me to be there caregiver. JESUS HELP ME!!!
    So an angel name Jennifer again God sends with a testimony and again I am grateful to know I am not alone. I understand living in one room at the moment for the past year with family and being grateful for the provision of my God, I see God shaping an molding my unemployed husband to trust God with all things and forgive those who wronged him that took him on a journey of his own self worth, to be married and finally discover who I am as a woman and Gods daughter, not a present but fatherless daughter who didn’t know her worth looking to man to be her father. But Oh God how great are you to bring this angel that allows me to reveal the things that eat at the inside and bring about the overwhelmed but also remind me of your promises to bring forth deliverance that you give me and my sisters so that we can keep our heads lifted and stand tall and press on to the call that Gid has for us all.
    Thank you Jennifer God bless and love you,
    Nichole Renee
    Forty Four Angels

  • Teresa McKinney
    Reply

    After reading All of these wonderful thoughts and comments from women who all love God like I do has been such an encouragement to me. My husband and I are in the process of turning our ministry our baby of 17 years over to our associate Pastors. Scarey but yet we know it’s time and heard Gods voice speak that it was time. This also means selling our ranch to them and turning all of that over to them. But it is time. We are tired and need much refreshing but……. This is our baby God!!! No it is mine He says. Well where do we go now? What do we do now? What’s our identity? Keep your eyes on Me He says. I am trying Lord. I can do all things through Christ I say. But…….. Where do we go Lord what do we go. We also have another house to sell. But….. Where do we go Lord what do we do? Just start packing and organizing He says so that is what I am doing now at ages 64 and 68 we are doing this

  • Edith
    Reply

    Dear Jesus and my sisters

    I am overwhelmed. Yes. Everything I do I do on my own. Single. Working. And turn house chores and errands and no time to not be single. I need more out of this earthy life my Jesus. I need you to turn over my heart and change my priorities. I can’t and struggle to do it on my own.

    Amen.

  • Laura
    Reply

    Dear sisters,

    As I read through the comments of overwhelmed events that are happening in our lives, I remembered my own feeling of being overwhelmed. My story USED to be “I am a single mother of two boys who goes to school full-time, works full-time, and takes care of it all.” The Lord told me to change my story TODAY to “I am a highly favored, loved, child of God, who is in the process of understanding just how much He truly loves me.” The Lord wants us to know and focus on His love for us. Everything that God has done was to show of His love for us. Read countless scriptures in the bible, and you will see everything pointing back to that simple truth.

    Last night, I cried out to the Lord to see what is it that God wants me to tell His people. He said for us to remember that He loves us. He has heard our cries, prayers, and seen our lives. When He said to seek ye first the kingdom of God, He meant for us to remember His Love for us and all things shall come to pass.

    I encourage you to look over your situation of overwhelming events, and see that God’s love DOES cover everything. Know that God has already answered your prayers and thank Him. It will bring a different energy instead of overwhelmed feelings to a feeling of just knowing that God already gave you the desires of your heart. And, I also challenge you to sit and know what are the desires (or beliefs) of your heart. If your heart keeps believing in the fact that you haven’t received the answered prayers, then your life will show it. You can change what your heart believes by understanding God’s love for you.

    *moral to this story: God loves you through Jesus Christ. Remember the power of the Holy Ghost that will change your circumstances through God’s love for you. GOD LOVES YOU!

  • Charlene Ungerer
    Reply

    Camille – I want to tell you that for ± 25 years I have been crying out to the Lord. I have four children and am married to a man that I have been with since I was 16.

    My life has been a financial disaster and we have been through so much. What I have learnt is that God will never leave you – He is always there with you. He does things in His time NOT yours. I kept crying out and most of the time I felt that God had deserted me – I still felt lost and all alone with NO ONE to depend on at all, least of all my husband. People tell you all sorts of things – “God will not give you something you can’t handle” etc. but inside you feel scared and all alone. I have learnt that until such time that you surrender to God and ask Him to take you, change you, and ask Him to give you the faith in Him to survive, you will feel alone. Once you do this you will feel a peace come over you like you have never known. I am no longer afraid of any man – God is my judge – He is for me so it doesn’t matter who is against me because He will fight for me and rescue me.

    I have survived on my faith in GOD alone. You need to realise that everything you have and are is by the grace of God ALONE !!!

    Many times we couldn’t feed our children, couldn’t pay for what they and we needed but let me tell you all something there is not one single night that my children, husband or myself went to bed hungry. Every morning I would ask God to provide for us and I promise you every night there would be something to eat. It would be given to us or sent to us and I am convinced that God provided each and every need that we had. Exactly the same happened with a place to stay – when I prayed (which was 24/7) – we received exactly what we needed.

    GOD made miracles happen. I though everything would be perfect when we were financially stable. That is NOT true. My husband has many health issues and is really not well. He is an alcoholic who has been drinking since the age of 16 (He stopped for 5 years but started again) and he has been drinking very heavily for the past couple of years. It’s become even worse now since he now has the money to do this. I pray for him everyday but I think he has just he has completely given up.
    My job is to pray for him and my family and just to know that Jesus loves me and He WILL do want I need Him to do.

    NEVER stop praying – God loves it when you speak to Him and speak your requests to Him. He knows exactly what you need and He will provide it. You need to speak to him ALL the time not just when you are in trouble and need help.

    I have waited and prayed and kept going for 25 years and God did answer all my prayers. Eventually we could give our children (grown up now) what they deserve and need. I have taught my children to persevere and NEVER stop praying.

    God loves you – you are important to Him. ASK Him to give you the faith you need to keep going until He gives you a reply. If you are not getting something that you are praying for, God has a reason for it – He has something better planned for you.

    It’s very hard and I know how you feel – I’ve been there – Be strong, have faith – Jesus WILL rescue you from any situation – even tough you think it is impossible – My God is the God of the IMPOSSIBLE !!!!

    I never read the comments but today I felt the need to do so and tell you my story – There is someone out there who needs to know this – YOU ARE NOT ALONE – GOD DOES LOVE YOU – YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO GOD – HOLD ON – BE PATIENT – BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD !!!!!

    God Bless !!!

  • Denise Daines
    Reply

    Overwhelmed, under?accoplished. Why can’t I get through a day? What is it that God is calling me to understand? A mounth slips away unoticed much the same with me. Time slips away and so am I. How do I make more of the time I have left? What is my purpose? I feel I have out lived it. Is there something I am missing? Love, a dreaded four letter word. God is love why doesn’t he call me home? What is life alone? Can someone like me do what is right and pleasing to God?

  • Whitney Alexander
    Reply

    I need help with how do I respond to my sister when my mother wants to live with me. But my mother wants to. I told my mom she has to explain to my sister that she wants to stay. I pray about it but my sister think that my mom will lose her Independents. I am fine with her being here with me and my husband, and he is to. So I just don’t know what to do.

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