Just Sing!

We all have those days – the ones that you just want to stay in bed. Your energy is at zero, and your desire to change it is about the same. Your body hurts, and so does your heart. Everything seems wrong. The life that you had planned has been replaced with circumstances that you couldn’t have dreamed of. You feel crushed, defeated.

It is during these times that we often have no idea how to get “normal” back. We aren’t even sure if that is what we want. We just know that we don’t want to feel like “this” forever. God feels so far away. Family and friends don’t get it. However, life goes on. How can we move forward, even when we cannot just “move on” or “get over it?”

I have found that in my deepest, darkest moments, music often speaks to my heart in ways that nothing else can. Music is a very common theme in Scripture. Singing and dancing are mentioned over and over – in good times and in difficult ones. My suggestion: Try singing! (Even if you don’t feel like it.) Why bother? Here are some reasons:

  1. God deserves the praise for what He has done in the past, and for what He will do in the future. His promises of redemption and healing are sure. In faith, praise Him for what He is going to do in your life, remembering what He has done for you in the past.

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1,3

  1. Even in the midst of pain and trials, God’s presence will go with us. His sovereign protection is a reason to sing!

For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:7

  1. God knows what you are going through. He knows every single tear that you shed. (Psalm 56:8) He feels our pain and reaches out to comfort us.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. Isaiah 49:13

  1. Others need to know what He is doing in your life. Don’t be ashamed to glorify Him. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him.

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. Hebrews 2:12

  1. This life is just a vapor. It is simply a training ground for our ultimate dwelling place. Everything that God allows to happen in our lives is for our good and for His glory. every. single. time. Never doubt that God will redeem and restore what you have lost, the pain you have endured, and the trials you have faced.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10

  1. Finally… Our God sings over you! Not only does He rejoice over you. Not only does He quiet you with His love. He exults over you with singing!! The All-Mighty God, The Creator of the Universe, The Commander of Angel Armies…sings over YOU! You are precious in His sight. (1 Peter 2:4) I like to think that sometimes, just sometimes, when He is quieting us by His love, that He sings lullabies to us – calming us with the gentleness of His hand. (Psalm 131)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Do not let your circumstances allow you to lose sight of the joy that is yours in Christ. If we have Christ, we have everything we need. Not everything we want, but everything we need. Allow Him to fill those voids in your heart and life with Himself. Lift your head and sing!!

How Sweet the Sound by Citizen Way – http://youtu.be/iXMNzaZgMEM

(If you need help getting started, visit http://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/music/ for a list of songs that have ministered to the women in our online support group.)

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6007-19-14

Consuming Desires

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

It is so difficult, if not impossible at times, to avoid becoming consumed with our current desire. Whether it is love, marriage, having children, getting a better job, a better car, or a better house, we tend to allow these things to become the center of our universe. When things are going “right,” we are joyful and thankful, but when times get tough, we get angry and bitter. We love God when we can control the outcome of our circumstances, but as soon as He begins to work and takes away our control, we question and turn away from Him.

The Problem?

When we allow circumstantial things to control our attitudes, actions, and even our belief systems, we are asking for a rough ride. It is like building our lives on shifting sand. When our plans fall through or things do not turn out the way we envisioned them, we see ourselves as failures at life in general. We feel incomplete. We feel lost. Our world crashes down around us.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27

Because we plan on our lives going in a particular direction, we often set unrealistic expectations. We begin to get confused between what we can control and what we cannot. Anger, guilt, and bitterness flood our hearts, as we feel wronged, incompetent, and worthless. (i.e. “If I want a baby, but cannot get pregnant, or cannot hold a pregnancy, I must be broken.” “If I do not currently have a child, I am not complete as a woman. Being a mother will complete me and make me happy.”) We are tricked into believing that we can somehow control these circumstances in our lives. In reality, we can do very little to affect when and how most things happen in our lives. What we can control is our response to what God allows to take place. We need to take time, frequently, in our lives to step back and determine what we can control and what we need to leave at the feet of Jesus. This surrender will release us.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.Proverbs 16:9

A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?Proverbs 20:24

I have mentioned this before, but if we aren’t careful, we will allow our desires to become our identity. We will view the person that we are through this filter of accomplishment or lack thereof. This is dangerous and very wrong. Satan will use this to gain a foothold into your heart and mind, feeding you lies and deceiving you straight into the evil grasp of depression and misery.

You will find that when your desires become your identity, you begin to live a “what if?” life. You will take on a “would’a, could’a, should’a” attitude. You will find yourself using the word “unfair” to describe your current circumstances, and “deserve” to describe what you desire your circumstances to be. Living this way allows discontent, bitterness, and jealousy to take over your heart.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.Galatians 6:7

The Solution?

The sovereignty of God and the unfailing truth of His Word.

The sovereignty of God allows Him to take control of what we cannot. It allows an all-knowing, all-powerful God to stand at the end of our life and then, reach back, take our hand, and lead us through it. What safety! What peace! What freedom! This sovereignty allows us to find security in knowing that it is already worked out – from beginning to end. We cannot thwart the plans of all-mighty God. We do not have the ability to make His plan better, and neither do we have the lack of ability to make His plan fail. What a relief that should be to our often guilt-ridden hearts.

Of course, as humans, our minds will often wander to what might have been. However, that is the moment that we remember that God’s ways are better than anything we could ever imagine. In our minds, the hypothetical is always perfect. The actual reality may have been far different. We must trust that God knows best.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.Psalm 19:14

The words “deserve” and “fair” are dangerous ones. When you are tempted to use these words, take a moment to consider what is truly fair and what you truly deserve. Each one of us is blessed beyond measure. Each of us has more than we need. We have not been promised that our desires would all be met in full. We not been guaranteed a perfect or easy life. We must learn to be thankful and joyful for what we have been given, patient in prayer for what we still desire, and content in faith that God will only give us what is best for us.

The truth will set you free! This is a promise. God’s Word never fails. His promises are never broken. When you are trying living up to impossible expectations, judging ourselves by unfair measures, and condemning ourselves to live defeated lives, we are living a life based on lies. We must seek the truth. The truth about ourselves and the identity we have in Christ, which is never dependent upon what we accomplish, the truth about God and His deep desire to love us as His children – giving us only what is good for us, and lastly, the truth about our circumstances and desires. We must continually feed ourselves the truth, even when it hurts, even when we don’t feel like it, and even when we don’t really believe it. Because, trust me, when the truth spreads from you head into your heart, a peace and understanding, like you have never known, will flood your life. You will find joy and thanksgiving, in the midst of pain and grief, loss and fear, and tragedy and heartbreak.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Our identity should be found only in our position in Christ. No matter what we do or what happens, our identity as God’s child will not falter. Because we did nothing to secure this identity, we can do nothing to lose it either. There will be many roles that we are called to fill throughout life, and we must be sure to avoid confusing our roles with our identity.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.Romans 8:16-17

If you do not have a personal relationship with God, or if you have wandered from His embrace, I urge you to contact us (joycomeswiththemourning@hotmail.com) or talk to someone you know, who can help you. Don’t waste another moment lost in helplessness and defeat. Our desire at Perfect Joy Ministries is to see you turn tragedy into triumph, pain into praise, and grief into glory. We desire to see you live a victorious and joy filled life, as you take the circumstances you find yourself in and turn it into an offering of praise unto God.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Acts 2:21

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.John 6:37

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Allow Him to carry your burdens, manage your circumstances, and His truth to make your life a life worth living.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp5907-03-14

 

The Measure of Heartache

Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

Proverbs 20:10

 

“I had a four week miscarriage, and I am completely devastated. I don’t think that I can go on.”

“I have lost four children to miscarriage, but I am confident that God is in control, and it will all work out for my good in the end.”

“I have had nearly a dozen miscarriages and a stillbirth. I don’t have even one child to show for all of the grief.”

“I have two living children, but I desperately want another. My doctor said that I am unable to conceive anymore. I just feel incomplete.”

“I lost my first baby to a 14 week miscarriage. I have two rainbow babies and another on the way, but I just cannot get past the pain of my loss.”

“I have had miscarriage after miscarriage. I have five living children, but I’m just not ready to give up yet.”

 

These are just a few of the comments that I have received over the past few years. As I was doing research and collecting stories for my book, I began to wonder how to measure heartache. Before my four miscarriages, I definitely would have used a different measure, but after my own experiences, combined with literally thousands of other women’s experiences, my perspective has changed.

It is so easy to make quick judgments based on these scenarios above; however, you don’t have the entire story. Everyone has a story, and no one can truly understand another person’s. You do not know that one of these ladies lost her father two days before her early ectopic pregnancy, which nearly took her life, making it impossible for her to attend the funeral. You do not know that the woman with five living children always had a dream of a large family, and she and her husband saved their money for years to purchase a large farmhouse, which now feels empty with her family of seven. You also do not know that the lady with four miscarriages and seeming impossible faith was abused as a child, has had cancer, several major surgeries, and is considered handicap. Funny how details change perspective and our judgment of others.

I quickly decided that heartache cannot be measured with conventional methods. A four week miscarriage is not a lesser loss than a 40 week stillbirth. In both cases, there was much more lost than a precious child. There was the loss of hopes, dreams, and desires. There was the loss of the initial thrill of those two pink lines, the excitement of sharing with family and friends, and the thoughts of “pink or blue?” There was the loss of shopping for cute baby clothes, decorating a nursery, and choosing a first name that sounded just perfect with the middle name (which you would use only in high octaves, when he was in big trouble). There was the loss of the first diaper change, the first bath, the first tooth, the first haircut, and the first boo-boo. There was the loss of hundreds of sloppy kisses and awkward hugs, millions of toothy grins, and those wonderful wobbly footsteps. The loss of birthday parties, holidays, and of course, a way-too-expensive wedding. We have all lost those things, and so much more when that tiny heartbeat stopped in our womb, or never even existed at all.

Maybe you already had a baby shower and a nursery set up. Maybe you had to have a funeral, say good-bye to, and see your child buried under layers of earth. Maybe you even had some bonding time with your child – minutes, hours, or even days of turmoil and emotional roller coasters, leaving you with sad memories and a void beyond understanding. Maybe these things give reason to consider your heartache to be more difficult than so many others, who didn’t have to “clean up” physical evidence of a child, gone to heaven too soon.

Consider the mother that must go into the hospital, have her child taken, in pieces from her womb, only to be thrown away as medical waste. There is no physical evidence left of a baby, nothing to put away or clean up. No pictures. No labor pains. No birth or death certificate. No little hat or tiny blanket. No teddy bear or little lamb. There is only an aching heart and empty arms. What is the proof of this life? How does this mom find closure? How does she grieve something that she cannot even prove existed? How does she heal? Maybe this allows her heartache to be measured as worse than another?

Consider the woman battling infertility. The one who longs for a child – even for a moment in time – in order to earn the coveted title of “Mother.” Think of the months of pregnancy tests, hopes shattered time after time, as the months turn into years. Seeing peers welcome baby after baby, seemingly without effort or, sometimes, even desire. Do you think that Mother’s Day is any less difficult for this precious woman?

Perspective. It is all in the perspective.

I can hardly see a woman in public, without wondering what her story is. I pass a young mother with two rambunctious toddlers, or a weary mom with a screaming baby, or a woman yelling at her children in the freezer section, and I wonder. What is her story? I see a pregnant lady waddling wearily across the parking lot, and I wonder. Does she know how blessed she is to have reached the end with a healthy baby? Does she know the risks that still lie ahead? Oh, how I wonder.

Perspective + Wonder = Grace.

Instead of simply measuring others against my limited experiences, I am able to imagine, sympathize, and even empathize with those around me. For a brief moment, I can make a choice to consider another more important than myself. I can reach out with a kind word, an understanding smile, a listening ear, and even, sometimes, a compassionate hug. I can choose to see other’s heartache with the eyes of grace.

Yes, our heartache is all unique. It is all different. But, it is all difficult. It all hurts. We must each grieve in our own way. Find healing through a journey all our own. The beauty comes when we are able to choose a path alongside others, who can encourage, comfort, and support us during the journey. Even more precious is finding those few companions who will exhort us and push us toward thankful, joyful, and victorious living, in the midst of our heartache. Those very few who will feed truth to our hearts and point us in a direction, which at the time may seem uncomfortable, but will ultimately lead us to higher ground, safer ground – building our faith, widening our capacity for growth, and expanding our volume to show compassion in turn. These few may seem uncaring, unsupportive, calloused, or lacking compassion, especially when heartache is fresh and wounds are raw, but if you take a moment, just a moment, to forget your pain and listen to their stories, you will often find these few are the very ones who have suffered the most.

Step back. Be still. Gain perspective. Show grace. Find a life worth living – a life filled with the joy that comes with the mourning.

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12b

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp58p06-22-14

Broken Bones

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

Psalm 51:8

When listening to the radio the other day, I heard someone say that when you break a bone, as long as it heals properly, it will be stronger than it was before. So, I did a bit of research. Although this statement isn’t always true, it does have some truth in it. While a bone is healing, your body forms a callus in the area of the break, protecting it and making it temporarily stronger than the bone around it. If it heals properly, the new bone is just as strong (occasionally stronger) than it was before the break.

Another example of this is when you get a sliver. Your body forms a callus over the area and surrounds the sliver in fluid. If you ignore it, an infection will form, causing pain and discomfort. However, if you remove the callus, clean out the fluid and get rid of the sliver, your body will heal itself.

I thought these were pretty good illustrations of how trials work in our lives. There are several steps in the healing process – physical and emotional – and if they are followed correctly, you will gain strength and wisdom that you couldn’t have gotten any other way.

  1. The Callus

Just as the body automatically forms a callus, in response to injury, our hearts often form a protective barrier. This can be a good thing, as it offers a level of safety during the grieving process. We often need some space, and some time away from other people.

However, this callus can become a bad thing. If we allow it to become permanent, our wound will never heal properly. We will always have a limp or a wound that keeps opening up. We must allow the callus to fall away, allowing air into the wound and promoting healing.

In the same way, we must allow our hearts to be open and vulnerable, in order to heal properly. This is, sometimes, really hard. It’s easier to remain callused and withdrawn, keeping our hearts “protected” from the world. However, if we stay this way we will have “limited living,” an emotional handicap. We must allow ourselves to hurt, so that we can heal.

  1. The Infection

If a wound is ignored, it often will form an infection. This will eventually effect the entire body, causing more pain and injury.

In our heartbreak, we sometimes allow “infection” in the form of bitterness, anger, and resentment. If we do not address these issues, we will eventually destroy our lives. We can choose to live in the midst of heartache and pain forever, never accomplishing anything of value, or we can choose to continue to live. We can take our new reality and choose to make something of it. Choose to find the roses in the midst of the thorns. It is all a choice – our choice.

  1. The Problem Resolved

When the sliver is removed, or the bone is properly set, your body is free to heal. It takes time for healing to take place – it doesn’t happen instantly. It often feels worse, before it feels better. However, if administered correctly, treatment will add in and even speed the process along.

In our lives, when we allow truth and time to have their way in our hearts, we will find that healing comes. It doesn’t change the reality of what we have been through, but it changes the outcome. It allows us to be stronger, braver, and more complete. It gives us a perspective and a wisdom that we lacked previously.

The goal in the Christian life is to become like Christ and to glorify God through the process. If we allow this to take place, we will see that the scars do not make us who we are, they only show where we have been. Do not waste your “broken bones.” Allow God to make them rejoice!

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp56p06-13-14

The Price of Glory

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

John 15:8

 

As I stood in front of the mirror, getting ready for the day ahead, I felt the stabbing pains again – in my abdomen and in my heart. My initial response was to ask God to be glorified in my life. I asked Him to do what was necessary to bring glory to His name, and begged for grace at the same time. As I continued to think about that prayer, I began to consider the price of glory. Rarely does glory come without a cost – usually, a high cost.

Last week was a difficult week. Due to chronic and irreversible health issues, I had to make the choice to have a tubal. I tried not to dwell on it much. Oh, how my mommy’s-heart aches for additional mini-me’s. Both my husband and I would have liked to have more children, so this was a hard decision. I made this decision when I was two months pregnant with my, now, 9 month old daughter. According to many doctors, surgeons and specialists, I shouldn’t have put my body through even one pregnancy, and I had seven. It was time to stop. I can feel the negative effects of it on my body. I paid a price for the three children that I have on this earth and also for the four in heaven, but it was worth it.

In today’s society, having more than two children is considered ludicrous…okay, maybe three, but that’s really pushing it. Once you have more than one, “you have your hands full,” and “you are one busy lady!” Yes, not every second of every day is a Kodak moment and being a mom is one of the hardest jobs on earth, but I have yet to discover a more fulfilling and rewarding role on this earth. So many women have empty arms and aching hearts, longing for a child they can hold and snuggle close. I have three to hold. I know what a wonderful and precious gift that I have been given. I also cherish the four that I have in heaven, and thank God for the opportunity to be their mom. God chose me. Seven times. I am blessed.

As I began to think about God’s desire to be glorified through me, I began to look back at the times He has so, in the past. I see relationships restored, cancer cured, healthy children sleeping peacefully across the hall, new outreaches built, new friendships formed, a wonderful marriage, etc, etc, etc. God living out His glory through my life in amazing and unexplainable ways. But, oh, the cost of those things… I see years of silence between family members, difficult surgeries, the death of dearly loved and much-desired children, challenging pregnancies, debilitating pain, heartache, abandonment by close friends, years of anger and resentment towards a spouse, etc, etc, etc.

Sitting in the waiting room for blood work, watching the ladies walking in and out with various sized baby-bellies, knowing that it would never be me again. Laying in the “holding room,” while waiting to go into the O.R., remembering the times I was there to mourn the loss of a child, who was soon to be removed and disposed of, as though they never existed. Waking up to find that the procedure I had so dreaded, didn’t even work. Then, as I sit here typing, that stabbing pain hitting my abdomen and my heart again and again, knowing there is more to come. The price has not been paid in full yet.

Life is hard. (http://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/life-is-hard/) Joy is a choice. Glory comes at a price. The harder the battle, the greater the victory. Do not underestimate what God is doing. It is during those painful, heartbreaking, frustrating times that the glory is being fashioned. The rough edges are being refined, and the redemption is imminent. Don’t quit. Don’t falter. Don’t be weary. Speak truth to your heart. Press on. Pay the price. Go for the glory!

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 16 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 4:12-13, 16, 19

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp57p06-02-14

Life is Hard

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.1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

Life never happens at a convenient moment. There is never a good time for a child to die, for a husband to cheat, for cancer to attack, for a job to be lost, for health to fail, for a friend to turn her back on you,…for life, in general, to occur. We have all experienced the feeling of “Really?!? Is this actually happening right now?” How do we cope? How do we survive? How do we take another step, knowing that another attack is sure to come at any moment?

  1. Be prepared for it. Don’t ask, “Why me?” The question that you should ask is, “Why not me?” What makes any of us exempt from the effects of sin? None of us deserve goodness. The fact that we are alive and breathing is more than we deserve. Perspective makes a huge difference.

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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)

  1. Stop and pray…right now. Even if the only thing you can say is “Dear God…” The cry of our heart is not lost on Him. There have been months in my life when I just could not pray. My heart, my head, and my body hurt too much to compose a prayer. The best I could do was cry out Jesus’ name, with tears and often with my face in the carpet. Any other word that I uttered seemed to smash into the ceiling with all the force I could muster, and then, drop back down on me, just adding to the already debilitating burden I was carrying. Based on Romans 8, we know that God understands this. He knows our human hearts can only hold so much. He knows that we are limited. So, He provided us with a Comforter, Who knows all things – past, present, and future – knows our every hope and desire, and knows exactly what is best for us. What could be more amazing than that?

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 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. 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. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:15-28 (ESV) (excerpt from this passage)

Also, try to practice praying with people in the moment. I know it isn’t always possible, and might be really uncomfortable, especially at first, but this will mean so much to that person. I have not done this as much as I would like to say I have, but the times that I have, it has blessed me as well. I have had people do this for me as well. I remember my husband telling me that a group of ladies had an online prayer meeting on facebook, when I was in the hospital. That meant so very much to both of us.

So often, we say, “I’ll pray for you,” as we pass someone or even in a text or email, but do we remember to actually do it? I have made an effort to pray immediately for that person, as soon as I walk away. I also try to choose an object that will remind me to pray for them each time I see it, such as certain plants in my garden that I planted in honor of certain people. When I go outside, I see them and remember to say a prayer for those individuals.

 

Prayer is such an amazing gift. What a huge privilege to go into the presence of the all-powerful God of the Universe, the God of angel armies, and the Creator and Sustainer of all things! Such a humbling thought. We should never take or use that gift lightly. Prayer is the best thing that you could ever offer or give on behalf of another person. Do not underestimate the power of it.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Romans 12:12

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  James 5:16

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:7-8 (ESV)

  1. Choose contentment. Choose joy. Life truly is what you make it. Happiness is fleeting, but joy will carry you through the difficult times. Do not dwell on the impossible. Do not waste today with the desires for tomorrow. Abandon the pity party. We all wish that people would take time to feel sorry for us. But everyone else is dealing with trials of their own. Take what God has given to you now, and use it to minister to others and for His glory.

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. James 1:2-4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter 1:6-7

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

  1. Truth shall set you free. Speak truth to your heart…over, and over, and over again. God has never failed. He has never broken a promise. He has never made a mistake. The sovereignty of God never needs to be questioned. Do not doubt. When we are down and we are out, God is up to something.

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

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?Romans 8:35

  1. Share your struggles, your pain, your heartaches, and your story with others. Obviously, we do not want to complain and commiserate with everyone that we talk to. That would definitely not make us very pleasant to be around. However, we are all hurting. Remember that everyone is going through difficulties. When you are willing to be real and share your hurts with others, in a positive and God-focused way, others are able to do the same. This allows you to not only receive some encouragement and support, but it also allows you to shift your focus from yourself to others. It allows you to see that you are not alone, that others are struggling too, and that even in the midst of your hurt and pain, you have something to offer. Don’t let your pain be wasted.

Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.2 Corinthians 1:4

Over the past six years, I have lost four children – three which required surgeries and other follow-up procedures, had three other very challenging pregnancies, had two major surgeries – a thyroidectomy and a fusion in my cervical spine, had cancer and radiation, gone through months of withdrawals from pain killers, had debilitating and life-altering chronic pain, almost destroyed my marriage due to my lack of obedience to God, dealt with post-partum depression seven times, been betrayed and hurt by many dear friends, am facing two more surgeries in the weeks ahead, etc., etc., etc. The list could go on and on. I know that you have your own list. You have your story. You have your life that you are living right now.

We can choose anger, bitterness, and discouragement, or we can choose to allow our lives to glorify God. He never promised it would be easy. However, He did promise to never leave or forsake us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.Deuteronomy 31:8

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. Originally written for Mommies with Hope. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp46p05-17-14

 

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Happy? Mother’s Day

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)

Mother’s Day rolls around again…and again…and again – just another reminder of what was, what is not, and what could have been. Whether you have another child to hold in your arms or whether you don’t, because of infertility or because they are in heaven, this holiday often brings a difficult combination of smiles and tears. I would like to share a few things that I have learned through my four losses and also through the lives of my three precious children, sleeping in their beds across the hall, as I write this.

1. Very often, it seems that, whether it be Mother’s Day or some other holiday, far too much emphasis and expectation is placed on these man-invented days to celebrate “self.” We all want a day for people to recognize what we have done and who we are. We want people to remember what we have lost, and to minister to us on this difficult day, because of what it represents in our life. Why do we feel that we deserve a day of praise, recognition, or maybe, even pity? Maybe instead of expecting everyone to cater to us and to our needs on that day, we try to find someone else who is in need of encouragement and lift their spirits. Even if you are mourning the recent loss of your child, I guarantee that the benefits of ministering to others will reach you in your need as well. This will also provide some eternal and lasting significance to this special day.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)

One thing that struck me in regards to this principle of serving others, in lieu of being served and in light of suffering and heartache… When Jesus celebrated the last supper with His disciples, He knew He would soon be suffering the punishment for the sins of the world. He knew that His time to die was near. However, instead of sitting back and expecting His followers to serve and to take care of Him and His needs, He served them. He washed their feet – even the feet of the very one who, only hours later, would betray Him. What a humbling example!

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servantis not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:14-17

2. Concentrate on the season of life that you are currently in, not where you would like to be. If you are struggling with infertility and/or only have a heavenly child(ren), and you choose to spend your day wishing to be a mother or to hold your own child, you will surely be disappointed with the outcome, not to mention you will most certainly ruin the entire day, yet again. On the same token, if you have a child(ren) here on earth, and choose to spend the day wishing they would serve and adore you, then you will be less than elated when they completely forget to wish you a happy mother’s day, not to mention select this day to be on their worst behavior of the year. However, if you spend your day loving and being thankful for the mother God gave to you, the mother-in-law your husband shares with you, and/or the other special and influential women in your life, you will be celebrating something of value. You will be counting the blessings that you have, and living in contentment, which always brings great gain.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, andwe cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

3. Don’t force the people around you to recognize you or your situation. Allow God to bring you to the mind of others, when He feels it is most beneficial. Wouldn’t you rather receive flowers or a gift from your spouse or a friend on some random day, just because they thought of you, instead of making someone remember you on a day that it is already expected? Just because the day was named on the calendar, doesn’t mean that it’s sacred. Let God meet your needs, when you need it most.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

4. Make new memories. Just because past mother’s days have been a negative experience, doesn’t mean that they have to continue to be. Come up with some new traditions or some new ways of celebrating. Last year, I decided to ditch the expectations and spend the day doing something special that I knew the whole family would enjoy. We went to a local park and played for hours in a creek, catching crayfish, and afterwards, we had Wendy’s for supper. It was wonderful! Instead of waiting for “memories” to find me, I went out and created some.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. Matthew 7:12a

5. Schedule a time to talk to God before this mother’s day begins. Share your heart with your Heavenly Father. Ask Him to allow you to experience all the joy that He has intended for you. Remember, it’s not about us anyhow. It’s all about 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

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. Originally posted on Mommies with Hope. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp55p05-10-14

 

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