Tag Archives: Difficult times

No Matter Your Circumstances.

My friend, Lynn, sent this video to me.  I wept watching this very brave, young man worship God in his difficult circumstances.  May we all learn to worship God no matter where we are in our  journey.  I’m grateful for people like Steve Fee who paused his day for this moment in young Creed’s life. 

Today, I am praying for a young man whom I have never met. 

Have a great weekend.  And, take a moment to worship God. 

No matter your circumstances.

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Filed under God Stuff, prayer, making an impact

Oh, But For the Grace

What is God’s grace?  A shortened version:  It’s God’s unmerited favor.  Often times God’s grace is confused with God’s mercy.  It’s by God’s mercy that I don’t really get all that I deserve.  But, it’s God’s grace that we can draw from when we go through difficult times.

Oswald Chambers writes:

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “. . . in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested ( 2 Corinthians 6:4 ). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“To draw upon as needed….”  The measure of grace God gives someone who just lost their child is much greater than the measure of grace I might need for a financial struggle.  But, His grace is always sufficient.  No matter what situation we are in.  We just have to draw on it.

Kris and I were talking about how our life is going to change when Jett arrives.  How am I going to deal with the stresses of a newborn, two kids in school, and being so far away from my momma?  Then, I remembered when John Henry was born.

I was a single mother.  I was the only one getting up in the middle of the night with him.  I was the only one clothing him, bathing him, and feeding him.  By the time he was six weeks old, I was back at work.  I would get him up in the mornings, get him dressed and fed, and put him in his little bouncy seat.  I’d put that bouncy seat in my bathroom while I showered and got ready for work.   Then, off we’d go.

I don’t remember any moments where I was ready to pull my hair out.  I do remember an overwhelming peace in our little home.  I remember a sweet baby boy who began sleeping through the night early.  I remember not wanting to go out for New Year’s Eve, because I just wanted to spend the evening with him. 

What was it that made our first few months alone together so peaceful?  So wonderful?

I’m pretty sure it was God’s grace on my life.  I never stopped crying out to Him.  I never stopped praying that God would make something great of my disappointment in life – my divorce. 

He did.  He was faithful.  And, in the meantime of going through it all, His grace was sufficient. 

Sometimes, I forget to draw on that grace today.  That unmerited favor of God.  So, He reminds me of how His grace was sufficient when…..

And when……

And when…..

And, then?  I count my stones.

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Filed under disappointment, divorce, God Stuff, Motherhood, Spiritual Journey

No Matter.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

I love this scripture.  I especially love The Message translation. 

Yet still I sometimes overlook it.

Then, I discover it again.  And, I pray that this time, it will remain written on my heart.

Because, it is foundational to my faith.

To my life.

It is hope.

It is truth.

And, we need not forget.

That no matter what place we are in.

No matter how fiercely our battles wage.

No matter what the report reads.

No matter how high the mountain is.

No matter how long the walk through the valley takes.

No matter.

God can do anything, you know.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff

Refining.

I had been frustrated with God for few days.  He wasn’t answering my prayers.  He didn’t appear to be moving on my behalf.  And, I reminded Him a time or three of my faithfulness – my investments into the Kingdom and into others.  ‘Cause, clearly, it’s all about me. 

I.Got. Nothin’.   

I probably should’ve gotten a “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth” speech.  I deserved it.

Hello, God.  Are you there?  Is this thing on?  Testing one, two, three. 

I did all of those things I know to do.  I even read and re-read “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)  I just added my own “Hmph” to the end of it.

Then, a light came on.  I was sitting at my kitchen table watching John Henry complete a few make-up assignments, and I repeated my “Hmph.”  And, the silence ended. 

He spoke. 

So, I asked….

“What are You wanting to teach me through this?”

Kind of changed my perspective a wee bit. 

Sometimes, we go through difficult situations brought on by ourselves, others, or just life circumstances.  This, we know.  What we, or I, seem to forget is that God can and will use these times to refine us.

You see, friends, we may be created in His image, but we aren’t Him.  And, He wants us to be more like Him.  So, He’ll refine us. 

Because, He love us.

And, that’s a good thing.

As the days passed, God began to make me painfully aware of some areas in my life that weren’t completely surrendered to Him – one particular area that didn’t resemble Christ in any way. 

So, I let Him begin doing some heart surgery on me.

Refining, if you will.

Tomorrow, I’ll share what that one thing is.

Do you feel God refining an area in your life?

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.  Psalm 66:10

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, Spiritual Journey

These Stones.


When Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan, they crossed the Jordan River.  God backed up the river all the way to a town called Adam, allowing them to enter into their promised land.  After they had all crossed, the Lord spoke to Joshua about the stones in the place where the priests were standing in the middle of the Jordan. 

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel.  5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God.  Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’  These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:4-7

God wanted the Israelites to remember where they had been and where He had brought them.  Something so significant in this story is the Jordan River had been backed up to a town called Adam.  What do you think of when you hear the name Adam?  Beginning?  Everything that had happened from Adam until then was cut off.  And, God had made everything brand new.

I have stones in my own life.  They represent what I’ve gone through.  They represent that what was meant for harm has turned out for good.  They remind me of His faithfulness. 

I bet you have stones in your own life.  I bet you have crossed your own Jordan.  You may be crossing one right now.  But rest assured.  You will make it across.  And, God will back up that river all the way to your Adam, and make all things new. 

One day, when my children ask me how I endured my own difficult times and crossed my own Jordans, I will show them my stones.  And, they will know how great and mighty He is.

Do you have stones that remind of you how God made something good out of your mess?

Are you crossing a Jordan right now?

 

 

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life

Back to life. Back to reality.


Family vacation was oh so nice.  I usually leave the beach with aspirations to one day live there.  But then, I question.  Would I value that wonderment of God’s creation if I soaked it in every single day?  Or would it, like so many blessings in my life, be taken for granted?  Probably the latter.  Unfortunately. 

The comings and goings of vacations are similar to life.  In life, we experience good times and bad.  Scripture tells us that in this life, you will have trouble.  But, it’s in our trouble, in our pain, that God reveals a little more of Who He is.  And, as a result, we are better for it.  If not better for going through the trial in itself, but who we learn that God is in that trial.  When we choose to endure hard times God’s way, He makes Himself known in ways that we could not imagine.  It could be seeing God’s provision during a financially difficult time.  A friend calling you when you are feeling indescribably lonely.  Losing a child and waking up the next morning wondering how you are even breathing. 

I will never, ever forget sitting in my house on Sweetbriar Lane with my eight week old baby boy.  John Henry was asleep.  I was sitting in my living room chair sobbing.  I was lonely.  The despair I was feeling hurt so deeply.  I heard a knock at the door.  It was my friend, Stacey.  I yelled for her to come in.  She did.  And, she saw a young, single mother cradled up in a chair with tears soaking her shirt.  What does Jesus look like?  He looked a lot like Stacey Beheler that night.  She dropped in to give me some things for John Henry.  But, God used her to give me much more that night. 

The Bible says that His grace is sufficient.  A mother who has lost a child has a greater measure of grace than one who has not.  God gives his grace as we need it.  And, He measures it exactly right.

I don’t invite tough times.  But, I also know that without them, we take for granted the good.  During those times, we see and feel the love of God like no other time.  And, it forever changes who we are. 

I would like to be back in a beach chair with my toes in the sand.  I’m not.  But, when I am again, it will be oh so nice. 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

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Bailout plan fails. God doesn’t.


The bailout plan failed.  The Dow suffered its worst drop ever.  Yet, so many of you told me yesterday how you are expecting good things from God – and how you are enjoying His presence more than ever. 

I can’t tell you the countless number of people I’ve talked to who are going through some tough stuff.  Some are dissatisfied with where they are in life.  Some are surrendering different things to God.  And, all are praying for His direction and His peace.  And, in spite of the economy’s financial instability, dissatisfaction in careers, struggles in relationships, every single person has hope. 

I don’t enjoy financially difficult times.  I certainly didn’t enjoy a divorce.  Tough times are, well, tough.  But, I have to admit.  It is during these tough times and trials that we realize our need for God. 

If life was always easy – if we never walked through one single valley – would we realize how much we need a Savior? 

Perhaps that’s why scripture tell us to REJOICE in tribulation.  It produces perseverance.  Perseverance produces character.  And character produces HOPE.  

It’s during these times that we fall into the arms of our Father.  We fall into His love.  And, we fall into His peace.  And, we can’t help but recognize how much we need Him. 

It’s where our relationship with Christ grows.  It’s where we can be still, and know He is God.  And, know that His promises are yes and Amen.  And, know that for every disappointment is an appointment with God.  And, know that He NEVER EVER fails.

        On Christ the solid rock I stand;
        All other ground is sinking sand,
        All other ground is sinking sand.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff

The Sunday Experience


I love Sundays.  It’s the first day of the week.  It’s a day we set aside to honor our Creator – for the local church to worship together, celebrate together, and grow together. 

 

We were on one of our weekend Georgia visits, so I worshipped at the home of my spiritual roots.  Dad began a series on minor prophets.  It’s really a series on minor league prophets with major league issues.  Yesterday, he covered Habakkuk. 

 

What stood out the most to me besides the obvious despair, questioning of God, and rescue was that God was always in the middle of the mess.  How easy it is to be in the middle of our stuff – our valley – our own despair, and wonder “where is God in this?”  We pray fervently for Him to do something.  To deliver.  To take away the heartache.  And, we question His presence in it all.

 

A good friend of mine is really going through a difficult time.  Someone told him recently, “God is behind the scenes working in this.”  His response made me laugh:  “If He’s behind the scenes, man, He is way behind the scenes.” 

 

It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

 

But, He is.  Not only is He behind the scenes, He is in the middle, and He is already ahead of you.  Pray that God will open your eyes to see Him in your difficulty.  When Elisha’s servant told him that enemy armies were standing against them, 2 Kings 6:17 says that “Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

God, open our eyes and let us see You.  That you are a God who goes before us and makes a way. 

 

Not sure what I’d do without those Sunday experiences.  It’s a great start to a week, and an even better reminder that God is on the throne.  And, He deserves my praise.

 

How was your Sunday experience?

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Finding Aslan.


We saw Narnia: Prince Caspian this weekend.   I just love me some C.S. Lewis.  I liked it even better than the first.  Kris prefers the first, but he is always sentimental to the first of any movies with sequels. Actually, I think he struggles with change.  Like the new pair of Adidas flip flops I bought him….he still fancies his disgusting old ones.  Finally, I had to tell him that breaking in his new flops really mattered to me.  After all, I couldn’t bear to see the others no ‘mo.  Chasing rabbits.  Back to Mr. Lewis.

Just before a big battle in the movie, Peter says, “I wish He would just give me some sort of proof.”  Peter was referring to Aslan who represents God in story.  You see, his sister Lucy had seen Aslan at this point, and Peter was relying completely on his faith.

How often in life we have felt the same thing that Peter felt.  God, if you would just give me some sort of proof.  If I could just feel you, or see you right now.  We especially express feelings of “God, where are you?” when tough times hit or tragedy strikes.  I know when one of my best friends, Josh, passed away, my immediate response was “Where was God?”  And when my first husband left me and our unborn child, I also felt that God had abandoned me, too.  After all, why was I experiencing this?

Where is God?  This answer has more to do with His presence in our lives more than our belief in Him.  We know He exists.  But, where is He in our times of need?

If you believe, like I do, that the Bible is true, then I’d start by finding Him in His Word.  That’s a great place to start.  Look for Him in others.  Seek out those who speak life to you.  Those who encourage you.  Those who instill hope. 

Another place to look is to the Holy Spirit.  Just before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples this:

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.  17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him.  But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you….20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  John 14:16-20

While none of us ever want to endure the trials of Job, I’ve always loved the end of his story when he says, “Lord, I have heard of you, but now I have seen you.”  Call on His name.  He will show up….and, at the very least, give you “some sort of proof.” 

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