Where’s a Frustrated Sister to Go?

Gwen Smith Blog 30 Comments

I remember lining the hallways at West Hempfield Elementary School when we had severe weather drills. The teachers would have us sit side by side against the inner concrete walls, quiet-sticks up, until the training exercise was complete.

Fire drills took us outside.

Severe weather drills, inside.

We knew which way to go based upon the type of drill.

Sadly, nowadays students don’t just have drills for fires and natural disasters, but also to prepare for evil attacks on humanity by humanity. We teach children how they should respond in the event of a shooter being on school grounds so they know the places to go to find protection and safety. My heart doesn’t even know how to process the angst of having to have such drills.

It’s hard to know what to do with feelings of frustration when it comes to the evil in this world.

In Psalm 52, David’s mad about evil.

But God will break you down forever;
he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah

The righteous shall see and fear,
and shall laugh at him, saying,
“See the man who would not make
God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
and sought refuge in his own destruction!”

(Psalm 52:5-7)

Stirred by a righteous anger over the arrogant and harmful actions of a non-believer. As he sifts through his frustrations, David points out that the evil guy (Doeg) did not make God his stronghold (v7 NIV)… his refuge (v7 ESV).

This stood out to me. One key fault David saw in the arrogant, evil man was that he didn’t turn to God, but relied on his own money and power.

I want to make God my stronghold and refuge, but have a tendency to do things on my own sometimes. I don’t ever want to be found in the camp of the arrogant. Instead, I want to be a woman who trusts in the steadfast love of God, gives Him thanks in all circumstances, and hopes in His name like the psalmist.

But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.

(Psalm 52:5-9, ESV)

The Hebrew word used for refuge here is ma òwz, which means a place or means of safety, protection or refuge.

A place.


Is God’s presence the place I go when I’m angry about evil or frustrated with the actions of other people?

If I’ve been hurt or offended, do I bend a knee in prayer or bend the ear of whoever’s closest in proximity?

Do I trust God with the outcome and give Him thanks for the opportunities to lean on Him through hard times?

I’m challenged to live differently than those who don’t know and trust in God.

The best choice is to take my anger directly to Jesus when evil stirs me up.

Everyday you and I face fire drills of frustration and we interact with people who don’t know or want to please Jesus. How will I respond to the sassy response from my teenager? Will the tone I use with my spouse or co-worker be honoring or sarcastic? Will I try to “fix things” or accomplish greatness on my own or in the strength of God. What will I do with the fears and discontent screaming in my heart after watching that cable news channel?

I want to have a godly plan of action that honors the Lord and loves others well when I’m stirred up.

Don’t you?

While this will play out differently in every situation, I think a good starting point for all of us is to step into sacred chambers of holiness and turn to God as the stronghold and refuge we need.

Dear Lord,
Injustice and evil are constant companions here on earth. Can’t wait for you to take care of all that! Until then, Lord, please teach me what it looks like to make You my stronghold and refuge. Draw me to Your presence and help me hash out my frustrations with You instead of with others. Stir my eyes to seek You constantly.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.



What source of frustrations is God nudging you to surrender to Him today?

Who or what has you stirred up?

What would trusting God with that/them look like?

I encourage you to connect with God in prayer and then spend some time processing as you write in your journal about this.

LOVE doing life with you, friend!



SPECIAL OFFER: If today’s message is where you are and you need more practical help, I have a devotional resource called Trusting God. I’m offering a 20% OFF discount on the Trusting God book from my site when you use the coupon code: 20OFF. Click here to get yours now.


AMANDA BACON is my guest on the new episode of Graceologie. She’s a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministry team, is a wife, mom, blogger and the co-author of a new book: Shiny Things. In this clutch conversation, Amanda and I discuss how you can live on purpose in a world of distractions.


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Comments 30

  1. Thank you for the encouraging devotion, it’s a confirmation to me that He is my Refuge and his presence protected me from an abusive husband, but it was only with Gods strength that I was able to flee. I ran out of my house with only the clothes I was wearing, I lost my joy, I lost my peace and a lot of sleep, I had to leave my job, my house, my car and all my belongings, but I never lost my love for God, the only thing I knew was to cry and praise him in this darkest time, feeling alone and misplaced and telling myself in whom shall I trust?! Psalms 911 He is my refuge and my fortress! Now I am trusting him that he will be the judge in courtroom with me next week.

  2. My mother in law is such a negative person. She lives wirh me and my husband her son. She is almost 90.
    I let her frustrate me daily. Prayer does help me. Sometimes I let the anger and bitterness overtake me it consumes me. Thank you for reminding me of the grace of God. I do pray daily He is my refuge and stronghold. Your writings are inspiring me

  3. I constantly struggle with living a “godly life” versus my “human life.” I tend to forget to turn to him in regards to my struggles, what I call my demons. Satan does know how to get in my head, and I let him take residents in at times, and when I do that, it does not bring joy or peace to my life. I don’t have many distractions, so I am constantly alone and by myself. I have to have constant reminders of articles like you write and my weekly bible study to continue to look to God and just pray.

    Saying anything on this blog, am I bending your ear and everyone who reads this? I enjoy reading people’s testimony and their struggles (I Just answered my own questions). My heart goes out to them and at that moment I send prayers their way. I know God knows what’s in my heart ….

    Dear Lord, keep sending me those reminders. I want to look to You always because you have been the only One who has brought joy, love and peace to my life continuously. I know You have never forsaken me. I love Your Grace and Mercy you give me every moment of the day. Your Ever-loving Daughter

  4. Love your wisdom. Thanks for stepping out. What makes me angry these days is more personal than global disaster. It’s my youngest daughter making the same mistakes I did when I was young. I see her path and where it leads because I have personally been exactly there. I try not to intrude but it’s hard. She is my baby. I sincerely thought this path stopped with me. The way I turned my life around, I arrogantly assumes the chains were broken for my children. Though I must trust that god has a plan for her.
    Did I mention that it’s Gods plan, not mine?

  5. “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭142:2‬ ‭(NKJV‬)

    “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:18‬ ‭(NKJV‬‬)

    “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭9:9‬ ‭(NKJV‬‬)

    Dear God, may I go straight to Your Holy throne of grace when I get overwhelmed with hurt that my family and friends don’t take time to understand my disease and that many don’t take time to support me. Often it’s too much for them and they don’t want to listen.
    Thank You Lord that You are ready to hear and always caring! Thank You for coming to earth and being fully God and fully man so You can feel our every emotion!
    In Jesus’ Name, amen Hallelujah

  6. As I read this devotion, I began to weep. As I repented for taking my frustrations out on my 11 year old earlier this morning. Before she got of the car for school…she was crying and so was I. Thank you for this ON TIME word that I MUST turn to God because HE is my stronghold and refuge. There are so many “nuggets” from the devotion today, but the main one for me is – I want a Godly plan of action that honors God and love others EVEN when I’m stirred. Thank you for the reminder that I must spend time in HIS presence.

    Thank you, thank you for your dedication to using your gifts and talents to serve your “Girlfriends’. We appreciate you ladies….

  7. Amazing this devotion was on a day I really needed it. I am struggling with having patience with my husband’s forgetfulness. Many times I get angry having to repeat constantly repeat information. He always seems to remember things that are important to him, but when something is important to our family, he forgets. Also, when we spend time as a family, like yesterday, he seems to make a remark that causes hostility and makes the family outing less pleasant. I love spending time with my adult children, but it’s getting to the point I dread it because I never know what he is going to say or do to upset someone. I pray God will restore my husband memory and let him enjoy his family.

  8. I so needed exactly this message this morning (funny how that works, isn’t it. : )

    I struggle with “dis-ease” over the state of our country, our world, my job, my marriage, my elderly mom, my daughters…it never seems to end. Except when I hand it over to the God who steadfastly loves me.

    Thanks for these much-needed words this morning.

  9. I get angry at myself for not bringing everything to God immediately. I think I can handle alone. What a mistake!!! I suffer and churn it around in my head until I think I’m going nuts. Right now I have 2 large issues. Number 1 I’m over weight and need to lose at least 20 lbs. frustration out the wazoo.
    Secondly I’m not sleeping well. Even Advil PM doesn’t do the trick. I wake up after numerous late night awakenings, feeling exhausted.
    I will now spend some time in prayer asking for my Saviors help.
    I’ll try to keep you updated (if I have the energy hoho).

  10. Thank you for this reminder. My frustration is my oldest child. She is a God Loving, God Fearing young lady, she does so much good for so many. She is a nurse and goes on mission trips several times a year. I love her more than she will ever understand. The issue is that I made some mistakes with her after her father and I divorced. I remarried and had 2 more children. She felt abandoned and I didn’t understand it. Now that she is grown, she has shut me out of her life and I struggle daily with wanting a relationship with her, but it seems that I cannot reach her, no matter what I do, so I back off. I have to remember to keep God as my stronghold and not let my emotions take control. It is very difficult, but I Know God has her, and she is living for Him, even if I do not get to participate in her life anymore.

  11. I’m a foster mom to a very abusive young man. He has been with me for 4 weeks now. I know that moving him will create an other abandoned feeling with him. But after this weekend episode I’m not sure what to do. I’m not feeling safe, but I don’t want to create more problems for him. I know that God has a plan. Please pray for my hearing Gods, word not my fears.

  12. I have been really having the hardest time with others gossiping. It does not seem Christ-like and it is so wounding. I know that it is tempting to find another person to complain to about someone else that is making them mad, but what would happen if we set ourselves instead to pray and ask God to help us have His love for that person knowing that we do not war against flesh and blood? If God says that our battles are spiritual, then I believe it’s important to step back and address the problem from that angle. If we treated every offense as a chance to grow and to stand against the wiley ways of Satan so that we could love those who hurt us in a Christ-like way, then we would be following Jesus in His footsteps…and what a joy it is to overcome the hard with His strength and love coursing through us.

  13. I so needed this devotion this morning. More importantly God knew what I needed to reflect on this morning. My daughter is in a abusive relationship. I got into it with her boyfriend last night. I didn’t take it to the Lord until after it happened. God is my refuge and my strength. I trust he will take care of my child!! Praying will not cease! I will continue to lift them up and I’ll leave them at God‘s feet. My daughter is 22 years old and my heart breaks for her. This devotion helped me in so many ways. God is my strength and my refuge. I will turn to him in my frustration. I have obtained peace this morning. God knew exactly what I needed to read & hear!! Thanks

  14. I’m presently in a state of confusion with regards to income. My hubby lost his job in January. He’s been searching for a new one while working on his business from home (which hasn’t – and isn’t – feeding our family). I was employed for 38 years, worked as a mom and single mom. I left the work force 5 years ago to start my own biz and help hubby with his. My biz is more a ministry than an income producer. Now that we are facing this storm (bills piling up, will we lose everything?) I’m faced with a decision. Do I find work? It’s not my heart’s desire, but we’re running out of time on who will find a job first and start bringing in income. I’m looking. He’s looking AND trying to ramp up his biz.

    Every job opportunity I read makes me cringe. So I’m asking God (beating on His chest, more like!) to show me what He wants me to do. And to put a fire in my belly for working outside the home again if that’s what He wants me to do. He’s been silent for the last 3 months on this issue. I know I must trust Him for provision, and we’ve continued in our tithing these last 3 months with the income that is coming in. But…the bank account is scary low.

    Trusting. Asking. Waiting. Yielding.

    I am scared. This. Is. Hard.

    Thanks for this opportunity. I love your blogs on Girlfriends in God. ❤️

  15. I love my husband dearly, but he is condescending towards me. After 40 years of marriage, I don’t think he even realizes that it’s part of his nature. Husband has gotten a little softer as he’s aged, but he can be very difficult. Husband also use to be very controlling, but that has subsided somewhat with age and maturity, but the controlling issues are still there, especially when it comes to money. In the last couple of weeks I’ve snapped and really lost my temper over some issues about money and some condescending remarks he has made to me. Almost instantly, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. I know my husband is the way he is from his very difficult and childhood. But that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. I take my husband’s remarks and actions towards me personally, and instead of taking a breath and ignoring, praying silently, I react. My husband is a lapsed Catholic who believes in God, but is not a Christian. He does not go to church. I attend a non denominational Christian church where I’m involved in several activities. This, I know also causes friction. Especially my tithing. I’m called to love my husband, and by reacting in anger, it doesn’t show much of the Lord in me. And he loves to point that out. I certainly don’t “walk on water”. I’m human, and it’s alright to disagree, but I know I shouldn’t blow up and yell in frustration. The only way to conquer this is through Jesus. Praying, reading the Word, and repeating reaffirming scriptures. Like your post today, I try and handle the situation on my own. Always a complete fail. I asked for forgiveness after reading the post, and a renewed commitment to pray and show supernatural love from God towards my husband. Love conquers.
    I actually have been searching for the book by Mary Southerland: Sandpaper People. Unfortunately I didn’t purchase when first offered on GIG, and it’s not available here where I live. Only in the USA, which won’t ship to Canada. I know it would be a great resource in helping me with my sandpaper husband.
    God Bless you ladies for your commitment to Christ and your daily ministry.

  16. I started a new job and the boss is 20 years my junior with no experience which is fine, the issue is she will ask me a question about our industry which have been in for (25) years and then present the idea as her own. We have a dr who provides coaching in our company and she stated to me that this person is “ sneaky conieving and was moved into this division because she couldn’t get along with people. Maybe I should look for another job because she does not foresee the company getting rid of her because there are many co workers with the same issue but management doesn’t recognize there is a problem. Since I lost my grandson in a horrific fire on Christmas Day 2017, I just don’t have it in me to confront this issue straightforward. I prayed that the lord would open doors and he did with this job opportunity, I just don’t know about the current environment. I pray for my boss and that the lord will be my refuge. Please pray for me

    1. I’m so sorry about your grandson. Of everything you wrote about, that one punched me in the gut! Prayers for peace for you.

      I’ve worked in environments with sneaky, conniving women. I always found I could wait them out, and they would either be reprimanded by the powers that be or they would just leave. Perhaps this will be the case for you, since you don’t have the wherewithal (understandably) to move on or face her down. (Consider conflict resolution with a third party, though. That could be the ticket!) prayers for you, friend.

  17. My frustration is this: the pastor of our church is retiring, so a search committee was formed to find a replacement. They found a man qualified and willing. However he is also 23 years old! Our church is small, but quite a few people are seniors. I feel like our elder team is handling very wisely. They’ve thoroughly interviewed this man and have asked the congregation’s input. Also our pastor is willing to be a mentor to this guy for at least 3 years until he is well established. This guy also has a girlfriend (they aren’t engaged yet, but heading that way). He has preached twice at our church and we officially vote next week. To be honest, me and my husband are very excited for this change! He seems very mature and his sermons have been very good. I understand some of the congregation’s concerns, but it’s frustrating that some of them don’t even want to give him a chance. If he’s chosen by God, who are we to oppose him? So I’m excited, a little nervous, and a little frustrated. Trying to leave it in God’s hands!

  18. Sister your meditation was SPOT ON for me today! I am sole caregiver for my 91 year old mom and sometimes get so frustrated dealing with her anxieties and fears. But love is first Patient and then Kind! Your words gave me concrete steps to take to be a cheerful servant instead of a grumpy giver! I also have to wrestle with negative feelings toward people who speak against my husband. Again- seeking the House of the Lord is the answer!! Thank you for sharing Heavenly Wisdom with us today!

  19. Amen. I posted something so similar to today’s message that it appears as i had written yours! My friend since 1stgrade has inspired me since i heard her sing the Anchor Holds. I’ve had very humbling issues with health, husband’s health, finances es, family, etc. My cousin kept saying tack it back to tbe cross. Let .God handle it his timing… so accurate. I talk to Jesus all day sometimes and i talk to my God and Father all day when it’s really serious. I feel im not being dusresoectful. He created me and knows my humor hides tears, so the way i pray is litterally a conversation all day most days. I am seeing his miracles happen, i feel that no matter how bad or good, its ok. He’s got this. My friend reminded me that if my trials save just one person to God, I’m doing what he created me for! I finally feel why I’m here!! I feel a Love. I’ve never had inside before and my husband is a Man of God. Hes a walking miracle. 12 years ago he survived a stroke. Issues most would not live through. Now its heart and Baptist Hospital on May 17. Of course im concerned as i love him. But whatever God does I have to be obiediant and mouring might be in future and my Prayers are PRAISE will be our outcome and God knows it!

  20. Heavy on my heart today-and last night-is the state of my church, the United Methodist. You may be familiar with the recent vote to exclude the LGBT community from the pulpit and from being able to marry in our sanctuaries. My SS lesson yesterday was from Matthew 28 where Jesus sent his disciples out into the world to minister. He did NOT exclude anyone! I need to study the UMC’s policies more closely and try to understand this (I know they are considerate of countries abroad) and have asked the Lord for his peace. I will also chat with my pastor. I just need to get it right in my heart. I don’t want to be in a place that excludes ANYONE.

  21. My frustration that I am struggling with right now are two houses I’m building to sell. Nothing has gone correctly. I mean nothing. First time having two projects at the same time. Craftsmanship has been terrible and we’ve had to redo the same thing over and over! Money is tighter than its ever been. Delayed on the market. You name it and it’s gone wrong. Please pray with me that I can let this go and trust God in His timing and in all aspects of this project. It’s very hard to accept these circumstances and has made me question if I want to continue with this career. I normally love my career choice of flipping houses and building but not this time around. Praying for eyes and a heart that just lets go and trusts God to work it all out for my good..

  22. Thank you for this encouraging devotion that reminds us to trust in God and make him our refuge and stronghold. Many times I find myself trying to “fix” things with my own strength instead of his. I am dealing with a lot of frustrations right now. After reading this I know this is an opportunity for me to give it all to him and thank him for the outcomes. Thank you for the work you do. May God bless you with more opportunities like this to serve and encourage others.

  23. I need to surrender so many frustrations to God. I have not found my “bond” with the Lord and have not prayed or studied his word like I should. I now am taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s and it’s so difficult as well as heartbreaking. I watch my mom fade away and have a confused stranger that doesn’t want to be here. I get angry because this disease and caring for her seems to consume my life and caused problems with family, marriage and friends. I need to turn it all to God but I don’t know how. I don’t know what to do or who I am anymore.

  24. God is so faithful in speaking his words through you! Thank you for another very timely and encouraging thought as I am learning to trust God more through some very frustrating circumstances with friends and family. I truly want God to be my only stronghold. Never thought of that word applying to God.

  25. As I couldn’t sleep tonight my thoughts had me opening my email and coming across the frustrated sister. God sends words right on time. Being frustrated with having cancer, friends and family members that don’t support, myself for putting trust in them. The scriptures and devotion opened something in me that I see my way is not their way it’s all about God. Evil lurks in different forms and we need to allow God to handle it. Thank you so much for this. Continue to be a blessing for others and myself.

  26. Thank you for yet another lovely helping devotion. I need God all the time and Im having to live with my mom whom is very mean and hurtful with words and a hard person to live with. I had to bring my 3 children and my daughter moved in with her dad becausse of my mom, till I can get another place. Its been difficult daily. I thank God for you and your devotions and Thank God for him!
    Thank you ,

  27. Need to read that note you wrote! I want some to just talk too at times, so it was good to read. Can I share with lady’s at my church? Thank you Donna

    1. Post

      Hi Donna!

      Awesome. I love that this resonated with you. Please DO share with the ladies at your church, friend! Always.


  28. As we wake up to hear that there is a protest in Charlotte today, this is an on time word. It’s so easy to get angry in times like this. Thank you for the reminder, that as a Christian we can give this frustration to our Father.

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