Objects in Mirror may be Dumber that they Appear

In today’s world of advancing technology, we are only as dumb as the device we are using. When we communicate, we no longer have “(sp?)” after ten words. We just use the spell check. If we want to use a bigger, more complex word, we just click on the thesaurus and get eight “smarter” versions of the “dumb” word that we originally picked. No one even sees our sloppy handwriting anymore, as everything is sent by facebook and text messages. When we make meals, we no longer have to rely on the 50 best recipes from our grandmother’s cookbook. We can simply go to allrecipes.com and type in the five ingredients sitting in our refrigerator. The smart site will create an elegant dish that is fit for Rachel Ray herself. If you are having trouble coming up with a snack for little Johnny’s class party, just type the theme into Pinterest and voila! When you take those Eiffel tower cheese and cracker creations into his teacher tomorrow, she will think that Martha Stewart is your new best friend.
The list could go on and on. Everything from making your own cleaning products to building a go-cart for your child can be easily done by watching a YouTube video. We are in a world of make-believe. Facebook allows you to be anything you want to be. By posting the perfect pictures (that you altered on Photoshop), you can look great. By only posting choice comments and experiences, you can appear positive and brave, lonely and critical, victimized and abused, or social and thrilled to be alive. Hundreds of people see the “modified” you every day, but only a few truly know who you really are.

We “borrow” knowledge day after day, whether it is to appear smarter or whether it is to accomplish a task with greater ease. We rarely go a day using our own heads to work through responsibilities and to complete chores. So my question is this: Why do we try to rely on our own wisdom to address our spiritual issues? We struggle with grief, anger, loneliness, jealousy, and guilt in our marriage and our friendships. We feel lost when it comes to our purpose and identity. We feel powerless to change anything about ourselves. If the 463 friends we have on facebook knew about our issues, what would they think?!?

It’s time to get real. It’s time to begin addressing these hidden blemishes in our reflections and make some changes. But how? There isn’t an App for that. However, there is a verse for that. How about going back to Scripture? Yes, it’s old-fashioned. It’s waaay last century. Nevertheless, it is tried and true. It works – every time! Truth will never have “bugs” or need updates installed. The only “power surge” you will experience, is in your heart and life. God has promised to meet every need and to direct our every step. Use His wisdom to make your life more “user friendly.”

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp54p04-25-14

 

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

 

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

1. Develop a reference point.  You don’t have to lose something to be thankful for it.  Just imagine life without anything.  What would you miss?

2.  God has given us so many blessings that we have never thanked Him for. Give thanks for something that you never have before.

3.  Perception of value.  (Example of the lost coin – Luke 15)  How often do we give thanks for sentimental value?  We gain a whole new appreciation for what we have.

4.  Thanksgiving creates contentment.  It makes what we already have “enough.”  Psalm 23:5b – “My cup overflows.”  What has God filled your cup with?  If God never gave you another blessing, you would still have more than you deserve.

5.  We can give thanks more than once for the same thing.

6.  Often, we are thankful with the product, but we lack gratitude for the process or the people that made it possible.

7.  Live a life of gratitude.  Make it part of your world-view.  You can say “thank-you” without saying a word.

8.  Pass on what you have received.  If you have things you don’t need or use, share them, instead of having closets full of extra “just in case.”

9.  Don’t compare yourself to others.

10.  Don’t live in the past, and don’t live in a “what if” world.

11.  Appreciate the people in your life, and what they do to make yours possible.

12.  Thankfulness is a perspective that changes the way you view everything, and ultimately, changes the way you live your life.

 

 

The Comfort of the Trinity

And let steadfastness have its full effect,

that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:4

Romans 8:26-30 – 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

How many times have we heard people use Romans 8:28?  Sometimes, it’s encouraging and sometimes, it’s just “not enough.”  Let’s take a minute and look at the verses surrounding it.

Romans 8:26-27 – 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Grief certainly embraces a level of weakness, as do many of the other emotions associated with infertility and childloss.  Even God knows that we will have times that prayer eludes us.  Our emotions often become so strong that we cannot think clearly.  We stare at our Bible, blankly, as if we are waiting for a revelation to appear from it.  We cry out to the ceiling, and we can almost feel our pleas for help fall back upon us.  Even if we could manage to get a prayer through the roof, we are at a complete loss for words.  We cannot put our feelings into words.  The pain just overcomes our hearts.

Let’s look at the promises:

  • The Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness.
  •  The Holy Spirit will intercede for us, before God the Father, with “groaning too deep for words.”  It sounds as though the Spirit actually feels our hurt.
    • Intercede: To intervene on behalf of another, to mediate or step in.
    • Groan:  To make a deep inarticulate sound in response to pain or despair, to moan or wail.
  • God searches hearts and knows minds.  This is comforting, when talking is impossible.
  • The Holy Spirit does not just tell God what we are thinking.  He pleads with God for His will to be done in our lives.  Sometimes that is the hardest thing to ask for, when we do not understand the mind of God.  Most of us would not ask for pain and suffering; however, sometimes, that is the will of God for our lives, in order to make us more like Himself.

Romans 8:29-30 – 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God chose us before the beginning of the world.  He desired us to become like Christ, before we even were.  Because of this, He called us to Himself, He works to justify us, and someday, He will complete what He began and will glorify us.  He sees the beginning from the end.  He has it planned and designed.  He is in complete control.  If we trust this, then, the middle verse will have much more meaning for us.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Next time you hear this verse, take a moment to remember the seven amazing promises that surround that well-known passage.  Allow the Trinity to have its complete and total work in your heart and life.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2012.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.

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Sufficiency in all Things

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

 

Dear Father,

I would like to lift up my fellow moms, who have been asked to return a child into your arms. This is certainly no easy sacrifice. We can either choose to do it willingly, or we can become bitter and angry. My prayer is that you would equip us with the tools necessary to allow you to have your will and way in our lives and let us live victoriously, and that we would open our clenched fists and willingly give back what you have asked of us.

First of all, I ask for wisdom. Please, give us wisdom to trust your sovereign hand. There is such freedom in your sovereignty, if only we would seize it, but it takes wisdom from above to blindly trust in your unseen hand. (James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.)

Next, I ask for patience. Waiting is so difficult, especially when our desire is so strong. However, if we truly believe that God’s timing is absolutely perfect, we will find that waiting allows us to grow and to prepare for what God is going to do in our lives. (Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Ecclesiastes 7:8 – Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.)

Third, I ask for peace. Often, even when we are able to control our attitudes and actions, our heart and mind is racing. We are working on a “plan B,” just in case you do not come through for us. Please, allow us to rest. You are the God of all peace. May you bestow your peace on us, as we wait. (Psalm 4:8 – In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.)

Next, I ask that you would give us faith to believe in your words. Allow us to rest assured that you will only do what is best for us, every. single. time. Give us faith to believe in what we cannot see. Make us confident in our faith, so that we are able to move mountians. Make our faith grow, as we walk this path of pain. (1 Corinthians 2:5 – That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight. Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.)

I ask for grace. Not just grace for us as we endure this struggle, but also that we would give grace to others, especially with our speech. As you write your story into our lives, many will question, comment, ridicule, and give advice. Please allow us to remember that not only do many of these people lack the understanding and the experience to properly speak into our lives and situations, they often just lack tact. So often, we ourselves, have spoken before we have thought our words through. We have hurt others with our lack of control. Allow us to remember this, when we are dealing with others. Remind us of the grace you give us each day, and allow us to give it freely to others. (John 1:16 – For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.)

Hope. Please, give us endurance in hope. Please, do not allow the enemy to steal this from us. You have promised to give us everything that we need, not always everything that we want, but this promise should be enough to keep our hope secure in you. (1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.)

Lastly, I ask that you will give us thankful and joyful spirits, as we walk this, sometimes, weary and painful road. Remind us that our true identity lies only in you. Because of this, we can be thankful and joyful in any circumstance, knowing that you are molding us and creating a thing of beauty in our lives, even when we cannot see it. (James 1:2-8 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.)

Thank you for your promises that give us freedom and life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Original material posted on Mommies with Hope by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6409-10-14

Loving the Idea

I have heard countless women share with me how very much they would like to have a child. I have heard the longing and the heartache in their voices as they shared of infertility, procedures, failed pregnancies, and child loss. As I think about their stories, I cannot help but think about my own desires, just six short years ago. I remember the nights of endless crying, the pain in my chest when someone asked when we were going to start having children, the frustration of working at a job that I just knew I had no desire to continue my entire life, and the fear of the uncertain.

Then, I remember later, the disappointment when the second pink line didn’t appear, the jealousy towards family and friends that had two kids too many, the anger towards those who could just blatantly throw away children in the name of “free choice,” and the incompleteness that filled my heart.

I remember the emptiness with each miscarriage.

I was totally in love with the idea of having children – of having a large family. I loved the idea of sharing our “secret” with the world. I loved the idea of a big baby shower with lots of precious baby clothes. I loved the idea of decorating a nursery with little baby animals. I loved the idea of holding my baby for the first time. I loved the idea of bring him/her home. I loved the idea of their sweet faces welcoming me each morning. I loved the idea of little fingers and tiny toes. I loved the idea of giving bedtime kisses and hugs. I loved the idea of loving them.

I loved the idea…

Then…

My ideas became actual reality.

As exciting as two pink lines were, it was also accompanied by much fear. I was hesitant to share our “secret,” as many had quick judgments that they were more than happy to share. I was terribly sick with each of my seven pregnancies. Cleaning wallpaper off the wall at 7 months pregnant was not easy. Hospital = nightmare. My first baby never ever slept. My second had colic. My third went through about 10 different formulas and 6 different bottles, before she would eat without screaming. I was exhausted all the time. There was poop, barf, and a sundry of other unpleasant excrements to clean up, usually, one right after the other. There were rashes, fevers, and injuries that kept the blood pressure up. There were decisions – lots of decisions – about vaccinations, circumcision, breast feeding, and many more to keep me wondering if we were doing the right thing or permanently destroying this little person’s life. There was a lot of crying, questioning, and regretting.

What happened to the love that I had? Nothing. I still loved the idea of having children. Why didn’t I live like it?

The main reason was that my ideas were really just expectations, and they were very unrealistic. They only included the most perfect, most beautiful, and most memorable things I could imagine. Because I had never actually had my own child, I had failed to account for the difficult, the exasperating, and the just plain awful moments. I couldn’t even fathom how being tired could warp your sense of well-being, or how post-partum depression could destroy certainty all together. It was easy to love the ideas that I had created in my mind, but not so easy to love the actual reality of my desires fulfilled.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are so many beautiful and wonderful moments of being a parent. There are sweet hugs, sloppy kisses, and flowers with no stems. There are peek-a-boos and I love yous. There are moments of shared laughter, until the tears run down your cheeks and your sides hurt. There are sticky fingers that play with your hair, and happy feet that greet you after you have been away. There are snuggles and tickles before bedtime, and little tiny voices to wake you much too early. So much to love.

Just like everything in life, there is bad with the good, work with the play, pain with the joy, and hate with the love.

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

My point is this: It is wonderful to have hopes, dreams, desires, and ideas. Just be careful about falling in love with just the idea itself. Don’t just fall in love with the idea of having children. Being a mother is the hardest job – the hardest role you will ever have. There will be times that you wonder if you made a mistake. Times that you question where you are and what you are doing. There will even be times that you wish you could take a permanent vacation and leave it all behind.

I want you to know that this is reality. This is truth. Do not spend so much time designing a fairy tale in your mind that you create unrealistic expectations. Life is hard. Motherhood is hard. However, it is those perfect, idealist moments make the “real” all worth it.

Fall in love with more than an idea. Fall in love with reality – with truth – with your children, themselves – the good and the bad. If you do this, you won’t be disappointed.

For more on this topic read: http://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/future-grace/

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6309-02-14

Joy Comes with the Mourning

 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

When was the last time that you can say that you felt true joy? For some, it may be in the past week. For others, it may feel like it has been forever. When I wrote my book, I chose the title, “Joy Comes with the Mourning,” for a reason. I became convinced that joy is supposed to accompany pain, grief, and heartache.

Think about it. Every single person you know is either just coming out of a trial, going through a current trial, or headed for a trial in the near future. God promised that our lives would not be easy. He promised that trials would come – over and over and over again. I found myself constantly discontent, always waiting for the break between the storms. Did He really want us to live sad and defeated lives, with only flashes of joy?

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. I Peter 4:12, 16, 19

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

We have two choices, when we face trials. We can succumb, or we can succeed. We can allow the difficult times to overtake us, or we can choose to live victoriously. There are several things we need to understand in order to rise above our circumstances and find joy.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Psalm 51:8

For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20

  1. We must live in the “now.” I really like the quote that says, “Forgive me, Father…You gave me the perfect gift of ‘right now,’ and I threw it away, hoping for a better gift later.” So often, we live in the regrets of the past or in the desires of the future. We tell ourselves, “I will be happy when _______ happens, or when __________ is over.” We deprive ourselves of joyful living, because we do not think that we can possibly find joy in our current circumstances. Learn to find joy, no matter where you are, and no matter what you are going through.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Psalm 27:6

 

  1. We must focus on the appropriate goal. Our chief goal should be to become more like Christ, and to serve Him with our lives. We often tend to concentrate on what is happening around us, instead of on Who is controlling it. If we can claim the sovereignty of God, we will find true and lasting freedom. Our perspective has a lot to do with our perception. Christ is our “true north.” Keep your sight set on Him.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

  1. We must also understand the difference between “happiness” and “joy.”

Happiness is most often associated with our circumstances or experiences. Happiness comes when everything is going “right” in our world. Happiness is not a bad thing, but it must be understood that it is fleeting – it will come and go without notice. Joy, on the other hand, is based on truth – on a belief system. Instead of needing a “state of well-being,” that happiness requires, it calls for a “sense of well-being.” The difference is not in the circumstance, but in the state of mind. It’s not having everything that you want and desire, rather, it is wanting and desiring what you already have and being content with that. It is holding out hope that God’s promises are sure and that everything will work out for our good and for God’s glory. It is knowing that every circumstance and experience in our life is designed to bring us closer to God, and to mold us into Christ-likeness. As Christians, this should be our ultimate desire.” – Excerpt from “Joy Comes…,” Holly M. Besser, Perfect Joy Ministries, Copyright 2014 http://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/joy-comes/

 

  1. Be thankful! Not only when you feel like it, but also when all seems lost. Remember Who will ultimately give you the victory in this trial. His ways will never be thwarted – not by us or by anything that can happen to us. Why do you have to go through this? Even when we may not see reasons in this lifetime, the primary answer is always the same: For your good and for God’s glory…every. single. time.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6208-12-14

Original post at: http://mommieswithhope.com/2014/08/11/joy-comes-with-the-mourning/