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/

A Fairy Tale Life

All fairy tales follow a similar plot. The central character isn’t happy with the current circumstances – Cinderella wants to go to the ball, Pinocchio wants to be a real boy, Ariel wants legs, and Goldilocks…she’s the worst! Everything is too hot, too cold, too hard, or too soft. In fairy tales, a hero saves the day and provides the deepest desires of the main character’s heart, and yup, they live “happily ever after.”

Any idea why these are called “tales?” Stories are the only place this chain of events is possible. However, we live each day as though it is possible to achieve. We live as though we can only be content when we achieve “happily ever after” status.

Recently, I asked a couple of questions in our support group, “What one word describes where you are right now? What one word describes where you want to be? How do you plan to get there?” After reading the responses, and thinking about my own responses, I wondered, “Then, what?” After we get where we want to be, “Then, what?” We live “happily ever after?” Nope. We will face more trials, more struggles, and more heartache.

Does that mean we should never strategize, never strive for better circumstances, or that we should stop hoping for redemption for what we have gone through? No, absolutely not. However, let me give you a couple things to think about.

  1. There will always be trials in this life. We will never be in a state of “perfect” in this world. We need to learn how to go from just surviving to thriving – in the midst of it. I’m not talking about wallowing in your grief or creating a victim of yourself. I’m talking about learning to take those hard times, use God’s strength to attack them head-on, and then, reflect His glory to those around you. No one expects that a Christian will have a perfect life. They just expect to see you live it differently. We all have burdens. We all have a story to share – of our past, present, and even anticipated future events.

Just this past week, I have been trying to keep moving through horrific spinal pain, an unexpected infection, poison ivy – head to toe, and several other “minor” issues. Sometimes, it just feels like everything goes wrong, but if you are a child of the King, it is all right. “Good for you” doesn’t always feel good.

Take stock of what you do have, and be thankful for it. We all have much more than we actually need. God has blessed us immensely, even in the midst of trials.

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

 

  1. Our goal should always be to become more like Christ. Anything that furthers that outcome should certainly be pursued. However, in during the pursuit of this objective, we must find contentment in the immediate place God has put us. Maybe it is a place of pain, of hurt, of frustration, of loss, of being uncomfortable. These things all work together to bring us to God’s desired place in the end. Each circumstance that we face is necessary for the molding process. Each hurt and each heartbreak is essential for our good and for God’s glory. If we cannot learn how to be content in whatever state we find ourselves, we will miss many of the lessons and the blessings that God has for us.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11b

 (Take a moment to listen to Evelyn Christenson’s testimony: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/facing-lifes-final-season-remembering-evelyn-chris/)

  1. This world is not our home. The struggles and heartaches of this life should leave us longing for more, for something better, but not something of this world. We should be yearning for our eternal home – “happily ever after.” All of the difficulties in this life will ultimately be redeemed in eternity. The pain of this world should allow us to discern truth and find eternal joy.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Don’t wait for “happily ever after” to find joy. Use “happily ever after” as a reason to be joyful.

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6108-09-14

Unimaginable

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

Ever feel like the desires of your heart will never become reality? Ever feel like God somehow overlooked your feelings, when He neglected to fulfill your deepest longings? Ever think that true joy is elusive, and that God is failing you?

Let me suggest a few things, which may demonstrate that you are putting God into a box that is just way too small.

  1. God will not force us to allow Him to take control. If we drop our burdens and desires at His feet, only to grab them back again, or if we cling to our heartbreak and our suffering, refusing to release them into His hands, He cannot work. We cry out to Him, questioning why He isn’t doing anything to fix our current plight, when at the same time, we tighten our grip on it, refusing to allow Him access to it. How can we expect to find true and lasting peace and joy, when we stubbornly carry around burdens that keep us bound in confusion, grief, and pain? We must allow our Heavenly Father to lift our burdens from our tired shoulders, and trust Him to do what He desires with them.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

  1. Often, our longings are not focused on the appropriate things. It is not wrong to ask God for and to desire blessings in our lives, but each and every one of our wants should be followed with the phrase, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” Ultimately, our greatest desire should be to glorify God, as we seek to become more like His Son. We must trust the sovereignty of All-Mighty God enough to realize that He will only do what is the very best for us. When this becomes our heart’s cry, we will find that the things of this world truly do “grow strangely dim.” The fulfillment of our wants will no longer determine the level of our joy. Instead, we will find our satisfaction in complete and utter obedience to God.

I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:19

  1. We often forget that God is unchangeable, unshakable, unstoppable, and unimaginable. Our little human minds cannot fathom the extent of His power and the depth of His understanding. We cannot even begin to grasp the measure of His wisdom. God executes His design in dimensions that we cannot even imagine. Think of the complexity of this solar system – from the workings of the human body to the unexplored regions of the ocean, to the heavens, which alone keep scientist pursuing and discovering in endless amazement and wonder. If He created this sophisticated universe with such diversity and such mystery for the pleasure of the human race, what must paradise, God’s dwelling place, be like? Our feeble and finite minds cannot begin to comprehend what our God is capable of.  Many times, when we do not attain our desires, we automatically assume that the opposite of our desires – which is far worse – will befall us; however, in reality, God’s plan is greater than we can even dream of. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We forget that God is not of this world, rather, He created and now holds this world in the palm of His hand. His best for us is so much more awesome than we can ever possibly wish for, so again, our over-riding desire should be, “Not my will, but Your’s be done,” knowing that His plan leads to everlasting joy.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

  1. We just assume that our desires will make us happy. It is so hard for us to imagine that what we want may not really be what we actually want. Last week, my six year old son did not want to get out of our pool. I asked him to get out, and he started into a tantrum. I went on to explain that dark clouds were gathering it was beginning to thunder, and that lightning was very dangerous, especially near water. His angry tantrum very quickly turned into a mad rush to get into the house. His immature mind had him believing that the only thing that would make him happy was to stay in the water. When he got a dose of wisdom, he quickly decided that his desire was actually not so desirable after all. Perspective has an amazing way of changing what we believe. Because God does not choose to give us reasons for everything that He allows or brings into our lives, we must trust that His promises are sure, that He desires to protect us, will only give us the very best, and that the eventual redemption of our heartache will be far greater than the pain we suffer. Whatever we are willing to pour out in sacrifice to Him, will be multiplied and returned to us. It is not simply a “loss,” it is actually an eternal investment.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6

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

  1. Another reason we often feel slighted is that we believe that we deserve our desires. We feel that somehow we are entitled to our wants, and that if we do not receive them, life isn’t fair. We use comparison to justify our worthiness. (i.e. “If that person can have three children and treat them like that, I deserve to at least have one.”) The biggest problem with comparison is that your standard of measurement is, most likely, not just. You cannot read the hearts and minds of others. You are comparing your “insides” to another person’s “outsides.” We need to stop looking around and start looking up. We need to measure our worthiness to God’s standards. We are all broken and flawed. None of us deserve anything good. We all deserve eternal punishment. It is only through Jesus that we are worthy of anything. Everything we receive is a gift and a blessing that originates from unmerited grace alone, and reflects the power and glory of God. Because of this, we must learn to accept and hold these gifts with open hands, knowing that if God asks for them back, He has a perfect reason.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

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

  1. Our beliefs do not change truth. If you believe that the sky is orange, it doesn’t change the truth that the sky is actually blue. Our lack of wisdom that allows us to fall for lies, will not hinder God’s promises from being fulfilled. We cannot thwart His plans. We are all broken and flawed individuals. We will make mistakes and be deceived over and over. However, these will only serve to remind us that we need a Savior. Like little children, we must trust in the strength of His arms to catch us, every single time. What a comfort! Rest in the truth.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp47p07-28-14

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