Archives

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

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

 

Join our private chat on facebook

 

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.

bsbp42p03-07-14

Join our private chat on facebook

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

Join our private chat on facebook

When Hope is Gone

Romans 8:18-30
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. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

I have shared Romans chapter 8 before. I love the beauty in the promises. There is so much to take in. I love the verses about hope. But what happens when hope is gone?

The past month has been filled with my hopes being crushed. I have a severe spinal disease that needs treatment. I wake up each day with hope that this might be the day that someone “fixes” me. I have hope that I just might have a chance to play on the playground with my daughter – something I was never able to do with my sons. I have hope that one day my children could run and jump into my arms without causing damage or at least excruciating pain.

I was recently directed to look into a spine center three hours from my home. From the time they reviewed my MRIs, they were positive that they could help me. We had the surgeries scheduled, the paperwork completed, and a deposit paid. Then, Obamacare hit. My dreams of being whole and pain-free were over with one phone call. Because insurance companies are paying less for out-of-network treatment, my financial responsibility went from $2,000 to $20,000. In an instant, my hopes for healing were gone. The pain in my body somehow doubled in that moment. A spinal block and a wheelchair began to look, not only possible, but almost welcome.  https://www.facebook.com/hmbesser/posts/10152234809214994

From the time I was very young, I wanted to be a mom – that’s all – just a mom. I never had dreams of being a teacher or a doctor or an astronaut. I just wanted to have a family. Even in elementary school, I would draw pictures of the ranch that I would build for orphans. I wanted to adopt in the worst way. When the spine condition kept me from having children for the first seven years of my marriage, I thought that adoption would certainly be a viable option.

When I finally surrendered this area of my life and longing to God, I was blessed with my first son. Even though pregnancy has been a rough road for me, I was so grateful that God saw fit to bless me with three beautiful children here on earth and four more in heaven. In the meantime, my husband changed his mind about adoption. He was no longer interested. Ugh. Another dream dashed.

Now, I am facing the reality that my body cannot safely carry another child, without huge risk to my health. I have an appointment scheduled next week to have my tubes sealed. However, I am still praying and debating. How can I completely kill another hope? How can I allow the one thing I wanted for so very long to be taken from me? I just do not feel that our family is complete. I just do not have a peace about it. What to do?

As I ponder these hopes in my life, I have been forced to one conclusion in the past two days. It sounds so easy, but if you investigate your life, I will guarantee that you aren’t doing it either.

I need to put ALL of my hopes in GOD – ALL of them.

I need to stop hoping in science, in doctors, in adoption plans, in birth control (or lack thereof), and a multitude of other things to complete my dreams and desires. Even when I cannot see the road ahead or how God’s plan could possibly be accomplished, the Holy Spirit prays for me. He intercedes on my behalf with the Creator of the universe. He sees my heart and hears my cries for help, and He speaks to the One who named the stars, asking Him to meet my needs. Amazing!

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, NOTHING WILL THWART THE PLANS OF ALL-MIGHTY GOD! There is nothing I can do or even the President of America can do to change the will of God. If He wants me to be healed, He will make a way. He doesn’t need an insurance company to cover the costs. He owns all the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn’t need our money. If He wants me to have another child, He doesn’t need me to change my husband’s heart or keep my womb functioning, in order to accomplish this. Once again, I put my great God into a very tiny box. Oh, may I look to the One who formed me from the dust of the ground to complete what He has preordained for my life. God is already in my future. He has seen my children grow up. He has seen my grandchildren. Surely, my hope is in the fact that He will do what is best for me and what brings glory to Himself – every time.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp50p01-21-14

Join our private chat on facebook

Catch the Wave

I was reading through my reader’s digest the other day, when I saw this quote:“It’s a wonderful metaphor, catching a wave, for how you can look at other challenges in your life.” – Jeff Bridges

Now, I am definitely not promoting the actor, but I did find his idea interesting, so I thought I would look up the beginner’s steps to surfing. I was surprised to find that he was right. I’m sure his metaphor would look a bit different than mine, but I thought I would share some thoughts with you.

Step 1:

“Surfing is a progressive sport. It takes time and practice and you need to learn to surf step by step, so before catching an unbroken wave, make sure you are competent in catching broken waves. The key here is committing to catching the wave.
Start paddling for a wave when it’s about 10feet away to make sure you are in a good position. As you paddle, check over your shoulder making sure you’re in the right spot and adjust your paddling speed accordingly.”

Learning to handle trials in our life takes time and practice as well. The Scriptures say:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

We need to study and prepare ourselves for the difficulties that lie ahead. We are promised that trouble will come, so we should be committed to facing it head-on, not trying to ignore it or dodge it. Doing that will only allow the trial to overcome us and drowned us. We need to center ourselves in Christ and find confidence in His strength.

Step 2:

“The wave will roll through and ‘pick you up’. Keep paddling, putting in all your effort to get your speed up. If you are too slow, you will be dropped off the back and won’t get your ride.
*tip – don’t be afraid of the wave. Make sure you are practicing in smaller 1-2ft waves until you get your confidence up.”

Trials will often “pick us up” and pull us away from our normal routines and even from what we consider safe area, and take us places we aren’t comfortable in. However, attacking the problem with a forward-focus on Christ will not only keep us from falling, it will also allow us opportunities to experience blessings. There are some things that we will never understand until we are in the midst of a hardship. The grace of God brings countless gifts along with it. Don’t miss out because you allow fear to control you. Work on gaining confidence in the small areas of life, before the bigger ones come along.

So that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. II Corinthians 4:15

Step 3:

“You will know when you are ‘on’ the wave when your board begins to ‘glide’. As a beginner you want to be looking straight ahead. You don’t want to worry about going across the wave until you are confident in standing. As you become a better surfer you can look down the line where you want to travel.”

“Glide” means: To move in a smooth, effortless manner. That takes some supernatural strength! We should have complete confidence to seek out our heavenly Father in difficult times. Only with His help can we face trials in a smooth and effortless manner. At some point, faith alone becomes a habit. We are able to respond with calmness of heart and spirit in the midst of strife – perfect peace.

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. Hebrews 4:16

Look ahead. Don’t concentrate on the past mistakes and failures. Each day is a fresh start, and His mercies are new every morning.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13b

Step 4:

“Once your board is ‘gliding’ you can begin your stand. You want to place your hands just above where your chest lies on the board. You need to get to your feet quickly. This is done using a ‘pop up’ motion, where you will lift the front of your body nice and high and quickly slot your feet in underneath.”

There is a time to be still and a time to move. As I’ve said before, God often allows difficulties in our lives to make us uncomfortable, so that we will change. Don’t be afraid to step out and take a risk. Do the next right thing. Many of the things in our lives would never have been accomplished without the prodding brought on by trials.

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

Step 5:

“When you get to your feet, it is easier to stay crouched and low, keeping your centre of gravity close to the board. This will help maintain your balance.”

Keep Christ the center of your focus, stay close to Him and stand firm in your convictions. Don’t let trouble trick you into compromising your testimony. Remember, He has brought you here, He won’t abandon you.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Step 6:

“Once you have your balance, you can start to stand out of the crouch position to begin riding. As you move into your standing position, your weight will drive the board and fins to create extra speed off the bottom of the wave.”

As your faith grows, you will be able to see the lessons and the blessings in the struggle.

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

Step 7:

“You now move into your full standing position and begin your bottom drive using your arms and body weight to create some extra forward momentum.
…this look[s] very easy so don’t be fooled. For your first few attempts, just go straight and get used to getting to your feet quickly. Once that is down pat you can start to work across a wave face.”

Don’t get proud. Remember where your strength comes from. It’s easy to get to a point that you feel you have it “under control.” Let God maintain control.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

Then, when your faith is perfected, you can share what you have learned with others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

So, catch the wave! Face your problems head-on and watch God work!

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp46p11-08-13
Surfing steps taken from: http://www.mesurf.com.au/technique_beginner_greenwave.aspx

Join our private chat on facebook

To Sum it Up…

I went through our blogs and studies and tried to find statements or thoughts that summed up different truths that we have shared. I thought this might give you something to review now and then. God often speaks to us at different times about different things. Each time I see these reminders, I see them in a new light.

  • We are not our own. We have been bought and our lives belong to God. He has the right to determine how we should live them.
  • We do not deserve good things. We deserve death and punishment. Anything we receive besides that is simply a blessing and a gift.
  • Fear and faith can dwell together. There are two types of fear: the type that keeps us safe, and the type that controls us. We must always be leaning on the perfect love of God that casts out the negative fears, and make sure that we do not allow the positive fears to control us.
  • Nothing belongs to us. If we look at our lives with the idea that everything is a gift from God, we will have a much easier time letting go, when He asks us to.  We need to hold onto His gifts with open hands, not clenched fists. Remember to ask yourself, “Is this mine or His?”
  • Our identity must be found and rooted in Christ alone. If you will first establish who you are in Christ, the roles that you are called to perform and desire to live out, will not be as likely to consume you. They will not be the foundation of your identity but rather, the fulfillment of God’s glorious purposes for your life.
  • While you are waiting, do the next right thing. You don’t need to know how you will get to the finish line. You just need to take one right step after another.
  • The only person you can change is yourself. If you want a different spouse, try being a different spouse. It will transform your marriage.
  • Don’t ask God to make your spouse think, feel, or do something a certain way. Ask God to make your spouse be who God wants him to be. Your idea of “the perfect husband” might change in a month or two, and you’ll be asking all over again. Trust God to know what you really need.
  • Be sure that your anger is righteous. “The difference between righteous and unrighteous indignation is illustrated by asking, ‘Whose honor is being preserved?’  If I am angry because God has been dishonored and that vexes me, I am probably experiencing righteous anger.  If my anger is in the garden variety, ‘I can’t believe you are doing this to me…,’ it is probably unrighteous anger.” – Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart

 

  • We must base our hope in the unseen. Hope in circumstances is based on a one-dimensional, limited human perspective. There is more beyond what we can see. The ripples of this life affect the forever of glory.
  • “If there were an easier, better, or more painless way for God to accomplish His will in your life, He would certainly do it!”
  • When people aren’t, God is.
  • Your past circumstances and influences are the reason that you react the way that you do, but never an excuse. You must learn to rise above these and become the person that God expects you to be in spite of them.
  • Our initial reactions to problems are usually wrong. We must learn to respond instead of simply react. This comes from feeding our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word.
  • As long as we retain our hold on our burdens, God cannot take them. We often go to God, dragging our troubles with us, but instead of leaving them at His feet, we drag them away with us. Even if we do manage to release our death-grip on them and walk away, we often run back to grab them, before we allow them out of our sight. We get upset that God isn’t fixing things or making our fears and frustrations go away, but at the same time, we cannot even see God, due to the bulk we insist on holding. We need to practice “hands-free” living.
  • Don’t wait until you are in the midst of trials to begin preparing for them. On the same token, don’t wait until you receive your desires to begin preparing for them either. Work towards becoming the person that you need to be right now.
  • Remember, we are not home yet. Our final destination is heaven. We aren’t supposed to feel comfortable or feel like we belong. We aren’t usually going to feel like we are where we need to be or want to be. We are only on a journey to our home. Stay on course.
  • “Don’t tell God how big your storm is.  Tell your storm how big your God is.”
  • We almost always act based upon our beliefs. What does the way that I live my life say about my belief in God?
  • God has promised that we will have tribulations, so don’t say “why me?” but rather, say “why not me?”  Perspective is everything.
  • God is a perfect Father.  Very few of us had ideal family situations, growing up.  We must not allow the imperfections of our earthly parents to cast a shadow of doubt upon our Heavenly Father.  We must allow God to re-parent us, and believe that He is exactly Who He says that He is.
  • If the current desire of your heart is based on bitterness, jealousy, and selfishness, you can be sure that it is not of God.  James actually says that it is “demonic.”  Our own way is dangerous.  God’s wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere.  If the thing you desire to do meets each of these qualifications, you can be sure that God is in it.
  • “Emotions are a see-saw of unpredictable feelings, teetering on the fulcrum of circumstance, which often result in rash and chaotic reactions.” – HMBesser
  • Whenever there seems to be “no reason” for what we are going through, we can rest assured that the main reason for anything we face is to bring glory to God.
  • As we live a life of repetitive discontent, we will find that several dangerous emotions will creep into our heart, and eventually begin to control our actions.

1.  Anger says, “You owe me.”

2.  Guilt says, “I owe you.”

3.  Greed says, “I owe me.”

4.  Jealousy says, “God owes me.”

These are all manifestations of a lack of contentment and thankfulness.

  • What is the most important thing that will be written on your tombstone? The dash between the dates. Everyone’s dash will tell a story.  How did you live your life, and who did you live it for?  How will you be remembered and what legacy did you leave behind?
  • It’s not the ghosts from the past that you need to fear, rather it is the monster that you let out and feed, when no one is watching.
  • I don’t think that God is going to wipe away our memories of earth, along with the tears.  I don’t think it is the circumstances that brought us pain and sorrow, but rather, the perspective that we have in our earthly bodies.  I believe that when we have a heavenly “make over,” our perspectives will be changed as well.
  • Don’t deceive yourself.  Anything can be an idol.  If it takes the place of God’s control over your life, it is an idol. Kill them and replace them!
  • Try to take what others say and do as a reflection upon where they are in their life, not a true reflection upon me, and pray for them. It’s not always easy. They are not in the same place that I am, and maybe God hasn’t dealt with that issue in their life yet, just as I may struggle in an area that God has already perfected in their life. Give grace.
  • When desire is uncontrolled it is never satisfied, requires instant gratification, and can cause us to make bad deals. Desire, when controlled, can drive us to action, keeps hope alive, and is sanctioned by God and fulfilled by His hand.
  • God certainly has the power and ability to change your situation.  But what if He doesn’t? You have two options at this point:

1.  Get angry and allow your heart to harden in bitterness, as you rebel against God’s will for your life.  Continue in discontent, as you stare longingly at what you desire.

2.  Choose joy, peace, and contentment, knowing that God does all things for our good and for His glory…every time.

Try praying, “Dear God, fix this or change my heart.”

  • Do you love God more?
  • It’s never about us. It’s always about Him!
  • We can only love and comfort others to the extent that we have experienced it ourselves.
  • The key is obedience not information. As humans, we usually want to know “why, when, where, how, etc.” However, God doesn’t owe that to us. Often, we wouldn’t understand it anyhow. Practice “going without knowing.”
  • “Our comfort zone is a great place to miss the will of God.” – Dr. David Jeremiah
  • If we never had opposition or trials, most of us would never veer off-course or take any risks.  Sometimes, God has to stir up the cobwebs in our lives to make us “itchy” enough to start cleaning. Change always comes as a result from being uncomfortable in our current condition.
  • Our unbelief is not a reflection or indicator of God’s ability or power.
  • Your “I CAN’T” moment can be a breaking point or a blessing point.
  • Another person can only handle your troubles for a short period. Even the closest of friends and the strongest of families can only share your burden for a limited amount of time. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s not that they don’t want to help. It’s just a matter of fact. Everyone has their own burdens to bear, and no one can possibly walk away from their own life permanently – no matter how much empathy they may have –take on our pain, and see it through from beginning to end. What people can never do, God does in absolute inclusiveness.
  • People just fade in and out of our lives. God puts people into our lives, many times, just for a certain season of it. Instead of grieving the loss of a friend, try to be thankful for the fact they were there, when you needed them most.

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp09-10-13

Join our private chat on facebook

The Fear Fence

I have been asked countless times over my past several pregnancies if there comes a time that I will “feel better” about the health and safety of my baby. The question is usually stated in one of the following ways:

  • Will you feel more comfortable about this pregnancy after you reach the second trimester?
  • How far along were you with your losses? Will you feel better after that latest point is reached with this one?
  • Will your mind be more at ease after you have an ultrasound?
  • Will you feel better when you can feel the baby moving?
  • Etc, Etc, Etc…

Some milestones definitely have a way of calming nerves; However, I don’t believe that there is an invisible “fence” that once you cross over it, leaves you fearless and at total peace about the welfare of your child. Not even birth can deliver a guarantee of life and health.

I do believe that there comes a time that the balance of fear versus peace tends to shift. As we fill our minds and hearts with the truth of God’s sovereignty, power, and love, we begin to understand better how to “walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Assurance – A statement or indication that inspires confidence; a guarantee or pledge; Freedom from doubt; certainty
Hope – A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment; One that is a source of or reason for hope; The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God’s help; Trust; confidence.

What are we to hope in/for?

The steadfast love of God:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 33:18

In God Himself:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11

In God’s Word(s):

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114

In eternal life and redemption:

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:19

And not only the creation, but 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. Romans 8:23-25

Conviction – a fixed or firmly held belief, opinion; the state of being convinced; a mind-set, not an action.

We have not seen Christ, and yet, we are called to believe with total conviction that He exists and that He loves us and desires the very best for us. This is the very foundation for hoping with assurance.

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (kjv)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 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. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:3-9

So, when people ask you those questions about the “fear fence,” be confident in your answer to them: “God’s perfect love trumps my fear every time!”

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp42p07-14-13

Join our private chat on facebook

Limited Attention Span

I have had an unexplainable, severe spinal disease since February of 2002. I have had nearly non-stop pain throughout my body since that time. I spent 5 months freeing myself of narcotics and other pain killers that I relied on for 9 years of my life. I have had a thyroid condition since I was 11 years old, which has always caused me problems. I had thyroid cancer at 33 years old, and had my thyroid gland removed. I spent about 3 months dealing with radiation and recovery. I desired a child for 7 years, after I was married, before God saw fit to bless me with my first son in early 2008. The next five years would include six more pregnancies – four resulting in loss. After each loss, I spent about 4 – 6 months recovering and regrouping in order to try again. Currently, I am in survival mode with my seventh pregnancy. I am in so much pain most days that I can barely see through my tears, as I beg God for help taking just one more step.

If there is one main thing that I have learned over these many difficult years, it is the following:

Another person can only handle your troubles for a short period.

Even the closest of friends and the strongest of families can only share your burden for a limited amount of time. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s not that they don’t want to help. It’s just a matter of fact. Everyone has their own burdens to bear, and no one can possibly walk away from their own life permanently – no matter how much empathy they may have –take on our pain, and see it through from beginning to end.

Many times, we see people come and go into our heartbroken lives and wonder why they “give up” or “forget about us.” When, if we were totally honest, we would look back and see how we had done the very same thing to others. It’s not usually intentional. It’s just reality. (Yes, sometimes, it is intentional.  In those cases, we need to practice grace and forgiveness. We must be thick-skinned sometimes, especially when we know that those individuals cannot possibly understand what we are going through.)  See https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/when-people-arent-god-is/

I’ve “lost” many friends over the years. People just fade in and out of our lives. God puts people into our lives, many times, just for a certain season of it. Instead of grieving the loss of a friend, I try to be thankful for the fact they were there, when I needed them most. My health has stopped me from attending groups such as MOPS, Bible study, and sometimes, even weekly church services. Just the changes in my schedule have removed many wonderful women from my life. Yes, it’s usually painful when it happens. Yes, you even feel some guilt for not being able to maintain those friendships. However, I’m learning that God puts us where He wants us. He removes us from the things that He wants us to surrender and sacrifice back to Him. He even uses these things to change the course of our lives and position us into service somewhere we may have never gone on our own accord.

In the midst of this regrettable truth, we must remember that God takes every tear into account…

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?  Psalm 56:8

What people can never do, God does in absolute inclusiveness. He doesn’t miss a moment, not a tear…not even one. Not even a hair falls from your head that He doesn’t notice…

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31

God will never leave you or forsake you – not even for a second…

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

He is with you always…

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:20b

Don’t lose hope. Even in the darkest of days, in the loneliest of times, and in the moments of greatest isolation, God is there. He knows what He is doing, even when all seems lost. People come and go. Don’t be angry they leave. Be thankful they came. Then, turn your eyes to heaven and trust your care to the Keeper of the stars.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.  Psalm 147:3-5

“Whom Shall I fear” (God of Angel Armies) – Chris Tomlin http://youtu.be/3vBDKtzzrR4

“Help Me Find It” – Sidewalk Prophets http://youtu.be/GIpIHfZ88PM

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.  bp41p07-07-13

Join our private chat on facebook

Be Still My Soul

I had several topics in my head for today’s post, but after singing this in church this morning, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to post this beautiful hymn.  I pray that you will find it as encouraging and uplifting as I did.  What wonderful promises!

Be Still My Soul

 

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Psalm 46:10-11

 

http://youtu.be/c9zHn4QSH-8