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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

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

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 https://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

 

Broken Bones

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

Psalm 51:8

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

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

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

  1. The Callus

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

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

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 It’s easier to remain callused and withdrawn, keeping our hearts “protected” from the world.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

  1. The Infection

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

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

  1. The Problem Resolved

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

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

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

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

Life is Hard

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

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

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

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Impaired Vision

In this life, there are many things that rob us of clear vision to take that next right step. We often allow the cares and desires of this world to take away the blessings that could be ours.

And others are the ones [seeds of truth] sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  Mark 4:18-19

1.      We often have a false sense of entitlement.

We feel that somehow we deserve to have our wants met – in our way and in our timing. We forget that in using the very word “deserve,” we disqualify ourselves from everything that we could ever desire, not to mention everything that we already have. We deserve death. Period. It is only by the mercy and the grace of God that we DO NOT get what we deserve or what is fair. We need to be careful how we use these terms. We often set ourselves up for disappointments, frustrations, and even anger. If we keep the proper perspective on what is truly fair and just, we would be less likely to feel victimized.

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

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

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

2.     Too often we have the major problem of open-mouth disease.

The Scriptures encourage us to share our burdens, to seek Godly counsel, and to use our trials to minister to others. That is one of the main purposes of Perfect Joy Ministries. However, this is not always the reason that we feel the need to talk about our circumstances. Many times, we want pity, a sense of justice re-enforced, and a chance to voice our opinions. As Christians, we need to guard our mouth. I recently heard someone say, “An open mouth leads to blurry vision.” The more we feed ourselves deception, the more we will begin to believe it. We begin to walk by sight, instead of by faith. If we open our mouths, we need to be sure that what is coming out is truth, wisdom, and edifying. The glory should always belong to God.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 13:3

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. Proverbs 15:14

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 mouth of the righteous utters wisdom. Psalm 37:30a

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3

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.

Ephesians 4:29

3.     We all struggle with a lack of faith, at times.

The level of faith that we need to live a God-honoring life, even in the midst of difficult trials and circumstances, requires a supernatural strength. We must be continually asking God for faith to trust Him, and to allow Him to accomplish His will in our lives.

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

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

4.     We often fail to see clearly, due to a simple lack of wisdom.

This one is so easy that it’s hard. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask God for the wisdom that you need. It is not His will that we should stumble around in the dark. God’s Word will give us everything that we need to take the next right step.

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

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

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:14-17

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ. Ephesians 1:7-9

5.     Often we are very short-sighted.

Our near-sightedness does not enable us to see the whole picture. We lose sight of the reason that we were created. We forget what our true purpose is. We fail to see eternity, in the light of our current disaster or calamity. Sometimes it is so hard to take a step back and remember our calling. We were created to bring glory to God, and to become like His Son. This world is merely a training-ground for eternity. We cannot let ourselves become so involved or wrapped up in the cares of this life that we miss God’s ultimate will for our lives. Remember, the best is yet to come! Live for the eternal!

All things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16b

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

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

6.     We are double-minded.

We say one thing and think another. We tell one person one thing and another something else. We say that we believe and trust in All-mighty God, but we live in fear and frustration. Our minds and hearts need to be filled to the brim with truth. Do not leave room for doubt and lies. Let the things that you say you believe go from your head to your heart. You serve the God of the universe, the God of things we cannot imagine, and the God of all power and glory, Who delights in the impossible. Live like it!

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. Psalm 49:3

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

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Who Says?

  •  “AGAIN?!?! Are you really going to put yourself through this again? How many times are you going to get pregnant, and suffer?”
  •  “Are you sure you want to try for another child already? Isn’t it a little soon to do this again? Why don’t you wait a little while?”
  •  “You are high risk for another miscarriage. This pregnancy is likely to end in loss. Don’t get your hopes up.”
  •  “Really? You aren’t going to breastfeed your baby? You just aren’t trying hard enough. Don’t you want the best for your baby?”
  •   Vaccinate? (enough said)

Most of us have heard similar things from people in our lives, whether it be our spouse, a family member or friend, or even a doctor. As a matter of fact, many of us have probably said these things to ourselves at some point.

I’d like to challenge you to consider following these statements with the simple question, “Who says?”

Unless your answer is “God,” then, these words are simply words – nothing more. Certainly God sends people into our lives or uses the Holy Spirit to give us counsel and wisdom, but we have been told in Scripture:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God… 1 John 4:1a

We often allow ourselves to become enslaved to opinions of others, frozen by fears from our past experiences, and swayed by a lack of faith. We forget that our God delights in the impossible. He finds pleasure in doing what we cannot imagine. As children of God, we are called to freedom, not bondage. We are free to hope for the incredible, believe in things we cannot see, and trust in a God, Who holds the entire world in His hands.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 2 Peter 2:19b

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Galatians 5:13a

Live as people who are free. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. I Peter 2:16a, 19

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:32, 36

So, how do we know what the next right thing is? How do we know we are making the right decision and not just being foolish? May I be so bold to suggest that based on Scripture, if we are delighting in the Lord, following His ways to the best of our human ability, keeping a clean heart, and desiring His will in our lives, that we cannot make a wrong choice? God desires that we know His will for us. (Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17) He doesn’t want us to wonder, to struggle, or to question each choice we make. He wants us to be sure of ourselves – because of HIM and of Who HE is. I truly believe that if we are doing what He has asked of us, He will lead us in the right path. You can plan and prepare and even start on a particular path, but if it’s not where He wants you, He will move you. There is nothing – yes, nothing – we can ever do or fail to do that will thwart His plan for our life. (Again, I need to stress that we must keep our heart’s desire fixed on Him and Him alone.)

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. 1 Corinthians 2:12

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3-5

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. Psalm 37:31

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 know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23

So, are you trying to decide when to start trying for another baby? Are you newly pregnant and worried about the outcome? Are you a new mother with some really difficult decisions to make? Stop being anxious. Take the next step. Do the next right thing with confidence in the One able to keep you from falling. Just do it!!

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.  bp51p02-06-14

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