Does He Really Understand?

For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

How many of you have read this verse or had it quoted to you in the midst of a struggle, just to wonder how it could truly be possible that Jesus could fathom what we have to go through? I don’t know about you, but I tend to add the fact that He had supernatural strength into the mix, and it just doesn’t seem like it really adds up. I absolutely believe that Jesus went through hell on this earth to provide a way for us to have a relationship with God. I know that He cares about me and everything that I go through. However, sometimes, it’s hard to fathom that He can really understand what it feels like to relate with my spouse and children. It’s hard to believe that He knows what I feel like as I live with chronic pain, struggles with medications, and so many other day to day things that we just don’t see in black in white in the Bible. It also seems that being the Son of God would give Him the upper hand in dealing with these temptations.

As I pondered on it this past week, I think I might have figured out my real problem. We have all heard this verse in context, but we aren’t usually presented with it in that way, when we need it. Check out the rest of the passage:

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (vs.16)

The focus is not on the trial, struggle, or temptation. The focus is on how we are to handle it. Jesus may never have had the exact same temptation, but everything we deal with can be summed up in the same human weaknesses. We all struggle with the temptation to give in to fear, anger, pride, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, etc. Jesus was tested in all of these areas too. Satan tried to get Jesus to give in to His current weaknesses, whenever he tempted Him.

Matthew 4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus has been there. He has been tempted to give into every weakness that we have. The answer is in the way that He handled it. What did He do? He went straight to the truth in order to “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We don’t struggle because we are facing something brand new to human kind.

We struggle because we don’t have the confidence to approach the throne of grace! The answers, the help, the solutions are there. We just have to accept them as a gift from God.

There is the old hymn that says it perfectly:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

***O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!***

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

 

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in prayer;

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer;

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

 

Don’t carry that pain needlessly anymore. Don’t struggle with that temptation over and over. Don’t miss out on the true and lasting peace that God wants for us in this life. Take the upper hand that Jesus had on earth. Seek God’s truth, seek His face, and live victoriously!

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6606-12-15

 

A Mother’s Day Letter

I want to write this letter to share my heart with you. I want to let you know that you are not alone. I want you to know that your struggle, as hard as it may be, is not unbearable – it is not impossible to navigate – not impossible to endure. I want you to know that your trial can be accompanied by joy, and even thanksgiving. I want you to know that God is already in your future. He has the perfect story written for your life. All you need to do is trust – trust His sovereignty and His love.

Dear Mommy,

Mother’s Day is upon us once again. What emotions this day invokes – sadness, fear, disappointment, heartache, and even anger. It also conveys feelings of joy, thanksgiving, excitement, and acceptance.

I remember the seven long years of wishing, waiting, and dreaming of having a child – so many tears. I begged God, daily, for a baby. I remember how I felt the first time a doctor told me that I could never get pregnant. I remember how I felt after the 20th doctor told me that I couldn’t get pregnant. Oh, the discussions that I had with God! I remember the two weeks in constant and fervent prayer, asking for answers and for peace. Then, it came – total and utter surrender, complete abandon to the will and the sovereignty of God. I’m not saying it came easy. It hurt – a lot. It felt like my heart was ripped from my body. Everything that I had always wanted was gone…gone, just gone.

Then, I remember the feeling of hope being rekindled, as yet another doctor dared to dream my dream. She opposed the former opinions and gave me the courage to begin dreaming again. I remember the feelings of excitement and delight, when I saw two pink lines – the joy of telling family and friends. The morning sickness didn’t bother me one bit…I was too thrilled!

I remember taking my son home. I remember the fears – SIDS, germs, and jaundice. There were the terrible emotions that came with my post-partum depression. I had wanted this baby so badly, and now, I just wanted to give him back! I remember crying with him every night. I remember screaming out to God for deliverance. I remember the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the guilt and regret…and of course, more fear.

Then, I remember the emotions that came as the medications finally began working – the clarity and the peace. The awe and wonder that comes with watching your first child takes steps, starts talking, and all the other things that merit our amazement as they grow.

I remember seeing those two pink lines for the second time. What joy! However, the feelings of elation where soon replaced with sorrow, when I miscarried a week later. Another pregnancy was detected a month later, and hope and anticipation returned. 10 weeks later, an ultrasound quickly crushed my positivity along with my dreams for a baby to hold. Confusion, grief, and despair consumed my heart.

A third positive pregnancy test a month later was the beginning of a whole new set of emotions that I never would have associated with having a child. Pregnancy would never be the same again.

Being a mom is hard work, but becoming a mom proved to be even harder. I know the emotional roller coaster ride that wanting a child can be. I felt every sentiment possible during the seven years that I had my seven children (3 earth-side and 4 in heaven). It seemed that each Mother’s Day was different. I was always in a different situation. However, I did realize that I was always disappointed in the day, no matter what. So, I finally did some soul-searching and discovered the issue. Last year, I posted a blog: https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/happy-mothers-day-2/, which gives you some great pointers for preparing for Mother’s Day. I hope you will take a moment to read it. I think it may give you a whole new perspective this year.

In closing, I want you to know that you are not alone. Whether you are dealing with infertility, struggling with multiple losses, trying to adopt, or a combination of the above, there are other Mommies who are in similar shoes. We are all the same, really. We are women with a desire and a reality that don’t match. Our hearts are big and our arms are not full. Our plans have been thwarted and our path has been re-routed.

However, the miracle of it all comes in the ironic form of a baby. Jesus came to earth, born to a mother, just like one of us. She faced the same emotions that we do. Her Son belonged to God, just like our children do. She had to choose to trust and obey, just as we do. In the end, Jesus was the answer. He is our hope. He is our peace. He is our joy. Mother’s Day isn’t just about having a child in your arms. It is about giving thanks to the one Who makes it all possible…in His time.

With all my love,

Holly

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6705-08-15

Chronic Pain

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Lately, I have been struggling to find a long-term solution for pain management. I have a spine condition that causes 24/7 chronic pain. Over the past 12 years, I can only remember a handful of times that I was pain-free, and they usually involved an epidural or some form of anesthesia.

Chronic pain: Pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments. (www.medicinenet.com)

Child loss is similar to chronic pain in many ways. The emotional pain comes and goes, but it lasts for an extended period, sometimes for a lifetime. It is tiring, stressful, and in many ways untreatable. It often makes us want to withdrawal from others, and usually makes others withdrawal from us. We get tired of feeling it, and others get tired of hearing it. No one can truly understand, unless they have been there. It welcomes hurtful comments and snide remarks. Everyone has an opinion and a solution, but rarely do they care to stick around long enough to help you try it, even if it is viable. Child loss, like chronic pain, is pain on top of pain.

What is the solution? How do we manage a pain so deep and so big that it engulfs us, and yet a pain that is also invisible and unimaginable to those around us?

I believe it all comes down to two things: Trust and Grace.

We must have trust in the sovereignty of our Heavenly Father in that His way is the best way. We must be careful about assuming that our current situation is the worst-case scenario. God wants the very best for us – not to fulfill our earthly desires, but rather, to prepare us for eternity. The alternative to your circumstance could have been much worse. Hard to imagine, I know, but it’s true. God’s plan is always perfect.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Psalm 9:10

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalm 18:30

The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. Psalm 34:22

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:11

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:26

We also need to understand His grace and then, give it to others. Yes, we are hurting. Yes, we are grieving. Yes, we are in pain. However, our response to others needs to be filled with grace, mercy and compassion. Many will never understand what we are going through. This is just a fact of life. Find support from those who have walked a mile in your shoes, and extend a bit of gentleness towards those who have not.

But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. Lamentations 3:32

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. Psalm 86:13

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. Psalm 103:13

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalm 145:8

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:36

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. 1 Peter 3:8

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6604-23-15

 

Why Should I Trust Him?

I have been reading the posts on our private support group page. My heart aches for you…I feel the pain, anger, frustration, and hurt in your words. I have been praying about what I can say to you that might help. I think that first, I need to share my story in a nutshell. If you read my story, I hope you will be willing to open your heart to hear what I am learning as well.

I had a relatively uneventful childhood. I was blessed to meet my husband when I was only 15 years old. Besides a couple of years in college, when we broke up, and I dated someone else, we have been together ever since. We were married in August of 2000. All that I ever wanted was to be a Mom. I never dreamed of being a teacher or a nurse or an astronaut…just a Mom. We had a five year plan: get good jobs, get settled into our own home, and have lots of kids! Well, within six months of marriage, we both lost our good jobs, because we had to move, due to a fire. We moved in with my in-laws to help save some money, while we got established into new jobs. My husband’s job paid $4,000 the entire first year. We were broke. We ended up living in my in-laws’ basement for four years! They are wonderful people and we were very thankful for their help, but I just wanted my own place, my own kitchen, my own home.

Well, in the following couple of years, my husband’s job finally took off. We built our first home, after much hopeless searching. During this time, at the beginning of 2012, I discovered, through much pain and agony, that I had an extremely degenerative spine. Now, lots of people (usually over 45 yrs) have degenerative discs in their backs, but it’s usually only one or two. I had seven degenerative and three herniated discs. I had the back of a 65 year old, as one doctor put it. He said there wasn’t a fix for it, “since most people that old will die soon.” I went for opinion after opinion. Over 20 doctors later, the only common consensus was that they had no idea how I would fare, and that I absolutely should never get pregnant. I was crushed! How could God give me such a passion and desire to have children, and then, take it all away like this? Not to mention, even if we adopted, how could I care for a baby, when I suffered from terrible and non-stop pain and muscle spasms? I felt that we were doing everything right. Why did we have to go through this? So many women could just think about babies and get pregnant, and some didn’t even want them! I just didn’t understand.

I fought with God for the next five years. I cried, begged, and screamed. I wasn’t really angry with God. I just wanted answers. I didn’t feel that I could trust someone who could control my life, without any explanation at all. I began a journey to find the true meaning of faith and trust, as well as a discovery of who I am and who God is.

FAITH:

  1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

 

TRUST:

  1. Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
  2. Acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation.

 

I soon found that neither faith nor trust had anything to do with what I wanted. Neither one involved my getting my dreams, desires, and hopes fulfilled. I still wasn’t sure how that worked, and I still wanted to be a Mom, more than anything in the world. I needed to know this One that I was supposed to trust and have faith in. So, I decided to seek out who God really was. I had always kind of felt that He loved me, when I was good, and punished me, when I was bad. I figured that He had a bigger plan, but that it only involved me, when it benefited Him. I began reading Scriptures about the attributes of God. Here are several blogs that we wrote on this topic:

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/online-studies/gods-love/

I discovered that not only was I wrong about God…I was REALLY wrong! God did love me, more than I could ever imagine. Not only did He love me, but He had a plan designed just for ME! His heart longed to give me the very best.

Matthew 7:7-11 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

  1. Long ago, I had given my heart and life to Him. I knew that unless I was a child of God, His promises didn’t apply to me. He wasn’t obligated to meet my needs or to answer my prayers. There is a difference from knowing about God and actually knowing God. So, the first step is to be sure that you are a child of God. Here is an excerpt from my book, “Joy Comes with the Mourning:”

Isaiah 55:6 – Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

God understands the loss of a child. He chose to give up His only Son for the weak, helpless, and sinful creatures that He created. He watched the human race defiantly ignore Him and decide to live life by their own selfish standards. He watched as His creation shook its fist in His face, and laughed at righteousness and truth.

Romans 3:12 – They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

And even though He could have easily chosen to destroy us, He chose to save us instead. Because sin cannot be tolerated by a holy and just God, payment had to be made. The punishment for sin was death and separation from God.

Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death…

This meant eternal damnation in hell for anyone who fell short of His perfect standard. No matter how “good” you believe that you are, if you have been guilty of one sin, you are guilty of them all. God had compassion upon us and allowed His only child – holy, perfect, and completely without sin – to come to this evil world, in the form of human flesh, in order to be the ultimate sacrifice for all sin.

Romans 6:23b – …but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Philippians 2:7-8 – But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

What an amazing sacrifice! This holy child was entrusted to a young woman, a mom – just as sinful and unworthy as the rest of us – to be cared for. Jesus was mocked, hated, and even homeless for most of his earthly life, and ultimately was “sold out” by one of His own followers to face a grueling death. He was nailed to a cross – crafted from a tree, which He created – and He was hung there for the entire world to scoff at. Yet, as He died, He thought of you and me, and forgave us with His last breath. The cross and the blood that He shed upon it became the bridge that can connect us to a holy God.

Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:13-14,18 – But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Colossians 1:13-14 – Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. 

What a humbling thought. He knew all about you and me – including every single action, intention, and thought of our hearts, souls, and minds. He designed each of us before the world began. He knew every feature, every detail, and even the number of hairs on our heads. He knew that we would continually sin, that we would reject Him over and over again, and that many would hate Him, but He chose to love us and to give Himself for us anyway. As He rose from the grave on that blessed day, He conquered death, sin, and hell – for you and for me. The only thing that He asks in return is for us to confess and repent of our sin, to accept His payment for it, and to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. He wants the dominion in our hearts, souls, and minds.

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 1:12 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Salvation from sin and death was certainly not free, but it was paid for us by Christ. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your life and to free you from the bondage of the devil and his lies, to give you eternal life, and to rule and reign in your heart and life, I beg you to do it now!

Romans 10:9-10 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Acts 26:18 – To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Only God knows the length of our days, and the number of opportunities we will be given to accept Him. If God is calling you, seek out someone you feel comfortable talking to, contact me via email at joycomeswiththemourning@hotmail.com, or send me a message through Facebook. I would be thrilled to explain this amazing gift to you in further detail or to answer any questions you may have.   If you would like to read the entire account of Jesus for yourself, I would suggest you begin in the Bible with the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Please, do not wait until it is too late. The time to answer God is now.

II Corinthians 6:2 – For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

  1. Because I belonged to God, I knew that the second step was to build a foundation for trust and faith with a hope that will not disappoint.

HOPE:

  1. Possessing a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen – often, without any proof that it will.

Without hope, all seems lost. However, if you find someone or something to place hope in, it makes life worth the struggle. Again, this goes back to having a fail-proof reason to hope in that person or thing. Without a doubt, you can never waste your hope, when you place your hope in God. He is the only One Who will never fail you. We have hope in the redemption of our suffering, hope in comfort of our Saviour, and hope for a better day. Our God is a God of hope, “an anchor for the soul.” The goal is to re-ignite the hope of God in your heart.

Romans 5:5 – and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:24-30 – 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. 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. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV) – Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

Titus 1:1-2 (NIV) – Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NIV) – Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

  1. As a child of God, I could claim every promise…in Scripture. I discovered that I was actually taking my own dreams and desires and expecting God to fulfill them. However, there isn’t a promise in Scripture that says that God will make me a Mom…not even one. Even though I never struggled with infertility, being able to accept that having a biological child might not be in the cards for me was just as difficult. It was then that I discovered the third step – find my identity. If it wasn’t in being a Mom, what was it in?

Here is a link for blogs we have written on this topic of identity crisis:

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/online-studies/identity-crisis/

I found that my identity was to be found in Christ alone. Being a mom was just a role that I might be blessed to play at some point, but it wasn’t who I was. When I discovered this truth, I felt a weight fall off my shoulders. If I didn’t become a Mom, my life wasn’t ruined. I wasn’t worthless. I still had purpose and a reason to be here on earth. It was then that I was finally able to surrender this part of myself to God. It was one of the hardest prayers that I ever prayed, but one of the most freeing. “God, if you never allow me to be a Mother, I will still follow you. I will still trust you. I know that you want the very best for me. If there was an easier, better, or more painless way for you to accomplish your will in my life, I know you would do it, because you love me that much. You are giving me exactly what I would ask for, if I knew what you know. Take my life. Take my dreams. Take my desires. Let your will be done.”

In 2007, I finally found a doctor who felt that I could carry a child. She also felt that the narcotics that I was taking at the time for the non-stop pain would not harm an unborn baby. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband! We were pregnant within a week. Our first son was born in January of 2008. It was a perfect pregnancy that resulted in a perfect baby. Just what I had expected…and deserved, of course.

About 18 months later, we decided we would risk my health again, and have another child. We really wanted a full house. Again, I got a positive pregnancy test very quickly – actually two positive tests. A week later, I began bleeding badly. An early miscarriage was certainly disappointing, but I wasn’t too upset. I hardly had time to get excited. I figured we would just try again. Another positive test came about a month and a half later. I still had no reason to believe that anything would go wrong. I had worked way too hard at this for it to “not work.”

We went in for our 10 week check-up…no heartbeat. NOW, it was real. This “having a baby” thing was getting difficult. I was crushed. The doctor’s office was crawling with women about to give birth. Why me!? Why did my dream have to die…again?

This is when I began my deep soul-searching. Would I ever be happy again? Would God continue to allow struggle after struggle? Why did life have to be so very hard?

  1. Well, that is when God reminded me of the fourth truth: “Life isn’t fair.” “Life isn’t easy.” “It’s not all about me.”

John 16:33 – 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.”

1 Peter 2:19-20 – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

1 Peter 4:12-13 – 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 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.

I began writing down my thoughts and feelings. These, eventually, became a book, “Joy Comes with the Mourning,” which was published at the end of 2011. (You can purchase a copy through Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com)

I became pregnant during this time, and my second son was born in September 2010. A difficult pregnancy, but another healthy baby. The three years following his birth would prove to be the most trying and difficult of all.

  1. Through the losses and the scary pregnancy of my first rainbow baby, I began to realize that I was not placed on this earth just to be a Mom. The next truth and primary purpose of my life on this earth is to bring glory to God and to become more like Him. Whatever it took to accomplish that was “good” – not easy – but definitely good.

Philippians 3:8 – Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Romans 5:1-4 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Everything that happens to me must be approved by Almighty God. Nothing is left to chance or is without purpose. I studied the book of Job. It blew me away. Not only was Job godly and without fault, He found favor in the sight of God. So, what did God do? Did He give Job all of the dreams and desires of his heart? Nope. He actually brought Job to Satan’s attention and gave permission for him to take away everything that was precious to Job. Was Job aware of the heavenly debate? Did Job know why God allowed this? Was this punishment for something Job had done? Was God just trying to torture him? No. No. No. No.

When God finally spoke to Job, in the midst of his pain and heartache. Did He give him answers? Did He give him reasons?

Job 38:2; 40:2 – [God said,] “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

Nope. He answered Job’s questions by telling him that the reasons were not for him to know. God’s thoughts and ways are so above and beyond anything we can fathom. Even if God did choose to give us all of the answers for our trials, we couldn’t understand them. Our human minds cannot even abide on the same level as God’s. This is why we must simply trust Him. The perfect, omnipotent, omnipresent, and all-powerful God of the universe is also our loving Father. His decisions for us are always perfect. He sees the beginning and the end – at the same time. In Scripture, we find that questioning God is foolishness:

Isaiah 29:16 – Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Romans 9:14-23 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.

I found that my response must be much the same as Job’s:

Job 42:1-6 – Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things,  and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

When my son was a little over a year old, we decided to try for a third child. So far, the health issues that I had encountered had been manageable, and we really felt that our family was not complete. We got pregnant quickly, but this time, the health issues started to increase. Before I even had a positive pregnancy test, I began having severe problems with my thyroid. I met with a surgeon and planned to have the gland removed. However, a positive pregnancy test put it on hold.

When I lost this baby, I was equipped with truth. Honestly, it was the hardest loss for my Mommy’s heart, simply because I was further along. I was wearing maternity clothes, and the little one was so perfect – fingers, toes, and a precious little face. Saying good-bye was really tough; however, I felt complete trust and faith in God, which brought joy and thanksgiving, in the midst of it all. (I actually named this baby “Bliss,” which means “Perfect Joy.” Hence, the name of this ministry, and the beginning of it.)

We quickly scheduled surgery for a thyroidectomy. The results of the biopsy were unbelievable: cancer in two places! Due to other circumstances, this cancer would not have been found any other way, at least for some time. My trial, my heartbreak, my pain was, actually, my salvation, my blessing, my gift.

You would think by now that I had learned everything that I needed to know about faith and trust. Nope. Two months later, I suffered a blighted ovum. Anyone who has had one of these knows the intense confusion and the roller coaster ride of emotions that accompany it. Once again, God was showing me that I needed to trust Him with every single area of my life – the ones that I could explain, and the ones that I couldn’t.

  1. The sixth thing that I needed to learn was that we don’t deserve anything. This was a tough one…

Didn’t I deserve something better? Didn’t Job? Here is a blog on the word “deserve:”

https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/even-if/

No. We all deserve death and eternal punishment. Period. Everything is a gift from the hand of God. EVERYTHING. So, when I had told God that “life wasn’t fair,” I was right. It could be a LOT worse. Only God’s unbelievable grace had made a way for me to have what I don’t deserve. Wow. Talk about perspective!

We went on to have our second rainbow baby, a precious little girl, in August 2013. So many gifts, and I don’t deserve any of them.

I recently had a cervical spinal fusion – the first of several, which finalized the fact that my body could definitely not support another pregnancy. As difficult as it was, I had a hysterectomy this past year. We always wanted a huge family. Well, we have seven children. I don’t get to parent all of them. I have to wait a bit to meet four of them – to hug them and hold them. But they are still my children…undeserved gifts from the hand of God.

  1. Lastly, in the end, it’s all about eternity. We are to live our lives for our heavenly home. This life is a vapor. We are just passing through. Our final hope lies in the promise of resolution and redemption of our pain in the next life.

Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

James 4:14 – Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 – For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

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.

So, back to the original question: Why should I trust Him? The answer is pretty simple: He is God. I am not. Knowing the truth about Who God is and who I am, along with understanding how God sees me, will truly set you free.

John 8:32 – And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp49p02-11-15

Help My Unbelief

QUOTE: “it’s easier to be angry than to be vulnerable”

Yes. It is. I’ve been there.

It is easier to fall into the default emotions of anger and bitterness and feelings of betrayal and like this is all a cruel game, than it is to choose to trust there is more happening than we can see, to all these tragedies.

Here is my question though. What are you gaining to fall into the hate and anger and bitterness?

Ease yes. But what is that ease bringing you? Peace? Joy? Understanding?

What is easiest, is not necessarily what is healing. What is easiest, is often what wounds us deeper and makes our loss greater.

I sit here and I wonder how I can put into words how I moved from this place, where I literally SPAT at my Biblical counselor, “You tell me. . . tell me! Why the **** would I choose to trust a God who let the things that have happened to me, happen, without intervening on my behalf.”

How do I bridge the gap between your pain, Ladies and my own peace? I know what both sides are to be in. So much of my journey was done by His grace and with the Spirit’s enabling. I could not choose trust on my own. I simply. could. not.

But the Holy Spirit lives in me because I have trusted in Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior. I know what I am without His redemption, given on the cross for all my ugliness. And the Bible promises me, that when my earthly mind doesn’t get it, the Spirit who lives in me does. I have to fall on HIS understanding when my own fails me. His understanding of sin’s curse on this world and how it affects us. His understanding of the Father’s heart when I can’t seem to see it. His understanding of all this is not all there is—there is eternity waiting for us and somehow, someway, this pain, the tragedy, this horror, will all be redeemed. Redeemed for those who have put their trust in Jesus, the Savior and Redeemer of this sin-filled, pain-filled world.

But I cannot do it alone. I must have Him carry me there. Some days, all I can cry out is, “I don’t trust. And I don’t even want to trust. But I want to want to trust You! Show me! Show me with spiritual understanding where my human, limited understanding has blinded me. Give me a glimpse so that I can see and begin to trust!”

And He does. He so faithfully does.

None of this makes sense earth-side. None of it.

I read the Bible; however, and I believe that it WILL make sense in eternity – in light of His sovereign, holy, righteous love.

I believe because I know what happens when I don’t believe. It is as I asked earlier. What does the default easy response of MIStrust gain you? For me it gained a never-ending spiral of hate and anger and despair and mental agony and eventually, even mental illness. It was the easier way—but it destroyed me in the end.

Faith was the harder way. The heart-breaking, staggering way. And yet, it was the way that freed me. The more you choose to believe, the more faith grows. But again, you can’t believe on your own. You have to believe with the Holy Spirit’s enabling inside of you. He sees what we cannot. He understands what we do not. So we cast our own thoughts and opinions aside and we claim His truth instead. His truth He ministers in the Word of God and His truth He speaks to our hearts (and note, what he speaks, will ALWAYS line up with Biblical truth, not our own version of “truth”)

We have hope, not based on what we think should happen or what we wish would happen, but based on the promises of God’s Word, that were written with the Redemptive Cross as the backdrop and Redemptive eternity as the future. So much of the question “why” hinges around:

The WHY of the cross and the resurrection and the hope of eternity and God’s redemption of this world and our broken hearts.  Until we can grasp our DIRE need for the Cross and the gift that God gave us through Jesus horrific death for our sin, the power of the hope of the resurrection, the beyond-comprehension-promise of eternity, and that:

I Corinthians 2:9-16 – 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”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Original material by Melissa J. Carswell, MA BCCC. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp48p02-10-15

Let God be God

When tragedy strikes, our brains immediately go to work. We want to fix it. We want to make it stop or make the trouble go away. We beginning formulating ideas and plans. We start the “if” process, and lay out all the possible solutions. We try to be stronger than we really are, and put on a “happy face” for those around us. We try to say all of the “spiritual” things that we are expected to say, and we try to find the good in the middle of the mess.

Obviously, there is planning to do, during any trial. And although, we certainly need to learn to be thankful during the difficult times, and we absolutely need to learn to trust completely in our Heavenly Father, often, our heart and our head do not agree. We are too scared to voice what we really feel, not only to those around us, but also to God. We feel like somehow we are less of a Christian, if we show any negative emotions or responses.

Scriptures support so many of those feelings that we try to avoid. We have to remember that it is not the emotion that is the sin. It is how we respond to the emotion that can be wrong. God gave us emotions as a release. Sadness is a way for our bodies to cope with difficult circumstances. Here are some verses that give us some of these emotions and how to deal with them.

  1. Tired:
    1. Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    2. Isaiah 40:29-31 – He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Solution: Seek God. Allow Him to do the work to give you rest.

  1. Fear:
    1. Psalm 56:3 – What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
    2. Psalm 112:7 – He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.
    3. I Peter 3:14,15,17 – But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Solution: Fix your heart on the truth. Know the reasons you trust in God.

  1. Tears:
    1. Psalm 56:8 – Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
    2. Psalm 116:8 – For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
    3. Psalm 126:5 – They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Solution: Tears are a normal part of grieving. “This too shall pass.”

  1. Doubt:
    1. Mark 9:24 – And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
    2. Matthew 21:21 – Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
    3. 1 Timothy 2:8 – I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Solution: Ask God to help give you faith. Pray! Tell God how you really feel. He knows your heart anyhow.

  1. Anger:
    1. Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
    2. Proverbs 15:18 – A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
    3. Proverbs 16:32 – He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
    4. Proverbs 19:11 – The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
    5. Ephesians 4:26 – Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

Solution: Think before you speak. Take time to contemplate and put things into perspective. Resolve your anger. Do not let it control you.

  1. Lack of wisdom:
    1. Job 12:13 – With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
    2. Psalm 119:98 – Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
    3. Proverbs 1:5 – A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
    4. Proverbs 8:33 – Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Solution: Read Scripture. Pray. Seek Godly counsel.

  1. Weakness:
    1. Job 36:5 – Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
    2. Psalm 18:32 – It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
    3. Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
    4. Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
    5. Psalm 59:9 – Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense.

Solution: Meditate on truth. Wait on the Lord to strengthen you in His time.

Conclusion: You are not God. If you can learn to let God be God, then, you will be free to just be you.

Take a moment to view this beautiful son by Laura Story – I Can Just Be Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VRUU8UBXCk

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp65p01-12-15