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What is in a Tear?

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

Psalm 56:8

Tears are the punctuation on the happenings in our lives. When something traumatic happens, we cry tears of fear. When something sad happens, we cry tears of heartbreak. When something thrilling happens, we cry tears of joy. God created this wonderful ability for us to release the emotions that accompany so much of what we experience in this life.

My first pregnancy was amazing. We had waited and prayed for seven years for a child. I enjoyed every single minute. It never even crossed my mind that something could take it all away. Eight years later and seven pregnancies later, my perspective has changed. God has asked for four of my seven children back.

  1. God never asks for anything from you that He doesn’t give to you first. Everything that you have is a blessing from God. We do not deserve anything. If life was “fair,” we would all be facing eternal punishment and separation from God. God is a good and perfect Father. He longs to give us good things. He wants the very best for us. If He asks us to return one of His gifts, we must trust that there is a reason for it. We must hold onto His gifts with open hands.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. James 1:17a

 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! Matthew 7:11

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

  1. We must remember that this life is only a preparation for the life that is to come. Everything in this life is fleeting, including life itself. As humans, we are often spiritually short-sighted. We want happiness and fulfillment in this world, and when we don’t feel happy, we feel that God has somehow failed us. When in reality, we need to be seeking the joy of the Lord.

“Happiness is most often associated with our circumstances or experiences. Happiness comes when everything is going “right” in our world. Happiness is not a bad thing, but it must be understood that it is fleeting – it will come and go without notice. Joy, on the other hand, is based on truth – on a belief system. Instead of needing a “state of well-being,” that happiness requires, it calls for a “sense of well-being.” The difference is not in the circumstance, but in the state of mind. It’s not having everything that you want and desire, rather, it is wanting and desiring what you already have and being content with that. It is holding out hope that God’s promises are sure and that everything will work out for our good and for God’s glory. It is knowing that every circumstance and experience in our life is designed to bring us closer to God, and to mold us into Christ-likeness. As Christians, this should be our ultimate desire.” – Excerpt from Joy Comes with the Mourning by Holly M. Besser

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14b

For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

  1. Peace comes from trusting in the sovereignty of God. Believing that God is in ultimate control can be your bondage or your freedom. You can be angry that He has the final say, or you can rest in the fact that He not only knows the beginning from the end, but He exists in both. He is in your past, your present, and already in your future. Time is not a limitation for the God of the universe. He has it all figured out, and He has it all in His hands. We can find peace in knowing that He will make all things right in the end.

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

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

Tears. Even our tears are a gift from God. I discovered some amazing facts about tears. All tears are not the same. There are three kinds of tears: basal – regularly lubricate our eyes, reflex – the kind you get from chopping onions, and psychic – triggered by emotions. Each one contains unique molecules. Emotional tears even contain leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller. Not only that, each one looks distinctive as well, just like snowflakes! Trust your life to the God of tears. He has it all under control.

Tears from cutting onions

tears5

Tears of grief

tears4

Basal tears

tears3

Tears of change

tears2

Tears from laughing

tears1

Psalm 116:1-8

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest;     for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

Original material by Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. Bsbp51p10-13-2015sp (Originally written for Life Factors Ministries with Sean Teis, lifefactorsministries.org)
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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

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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Love and Loss

We just found out yesterday that our sweet dog of 12 ½ years only has days to live, due to a cancerous mass in her abdomen. For those of you that are animal lovers, you know the implications of this diagnosis. We had only had an indication that something was wrong a few weeks ago, when she began to lose weight very rapidly. Last week, when we took her to the vet, we were told it was probably arthritis and that we should do blood work, just to be sure. By the time we got the blood work back and did x-rays, her health had greatly deteriorated. It is always difficult to say good-bye, even to a long-loved pet. When you know you are going to lose something or someone, you treat it/them differently. All of a sudden, they are the center of the universe, and you have patience and grace that you never had before. It made me stop and think about what loss has taught me about love.

1. We remember the past positives and forgive all the wrongs committed against us. Somehow, when we know our time with someone is limited, we are able to rise above hurts. Often, we lack patience and grace towards others because of their actions in the past. If they have wronged us, especially several times, it is hard to forgive and to trust again. True love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It endures all things.

When we lose a child, we are more likely to forgive infractions from our other children. We are much more likely to concentrate on the beauty in the special moments we spend together. As I’ve said so many times before, our perspective changes.

2. We spend time with them. We are able to put anything in life on the “back burner,” in order to spend precious moments with them. Ordinarily, it is so easy to brush people off for obligations in our lives. As mothers, we often skip playing with our children in exchange for cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry. Our priorities change in the instant that we feel time closing in on us.

When we lose a child, we see time in a different light. We understand that life holds no guarantees, and we could lose our loved-ones in a second.

3. Selfishness disappears, and understanding and compassion take its place. No longer do we wait for that individual to meet our needs. We lower our expectations and accept them how they are. We pitch in and help, we strive to make their life easier and more comfortable.

When we lose a child, we are often able to spot hidden pain in others. We know the signs and symptoms of heartbreak, and we are quick to step in and give the compassion that we longed for in the midst of our own hurt.

4. We discover truth. In seeking answers for the impending loss, as Christians, we must eventually find the truth. We find the love and sovereignty of God to be sufficient. We learn that all things take place to bring glory to our Savior, and to sanctify us into Christ-likeness.

When we lose a child, either we run to Christ or away from Him. Either way, we learn truth. With Christ, we are able to accept and even appreciate the difficulties, knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us beyond imagination, and that He only does what is best. Without Christ, we learn the heartache and fear that follows loss, in the shadows of bitterness and lack of submission.

Loss is never easy, but we can certainly learn to embrace the joy and peace that God supplies in time of need.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp45p10-25-13

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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

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The Last Day

This was written by a special angel Mommy, who lost her precious little boy a year ago on July 21st, 2012.  This is her account of the events of that day.  One of the goals of PJM is to bring awareness to the heartbreak of child loss.  I believe that this testimony is a wonderful example of how God finds us in our pain and carries us through.  This is a longer post that usual, but I wanted to share this with you. I pray it will be a blessing to you.

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Day of the week speaking, tomorrow (Sun July 21) is the first anniversary of Isaac’s passing. There are some compounding factors not related to him at all, but I’m not doing well. It’s been an extremely hard week. I’m dreading tomorrow and tear up every time I think about it. Like I have done countless times this year, I’ve been stopping to remember the day. The day I literally felt my heart break- I thought it was just an expression. It’s not. The day I lost my baby. The day he took part of me with him; leaving a shell of me behind. I was thinking today that the name of Isaac means laughter and I haven’t laughed much since he left. I know it’s a part of grief but going through it has sucked the life out of me.

A phone call from the on- call Dr woke us up at 12:30 am. I can’t remember why I talked to her, maybe the phone was closest to me. In a no nonsense matter she said “Isaac has built up fluid again and you need to make a decision. We either insert a chest tube and try to get rid of the fluid or do comfort care (meaning we take him off machines and hold him until he passes).” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I knew his co2 levels had been climbing but I hadn’t expected this call. It was an unstated expectation that I make the decision in less than 10 seconds. It was like I was driving a freight train with 2 tunnels racing at me and I had to choose which one to go in. I asked for a moment and told Preston our choices; the voices in my head screaming. We both decided that the chest tubes had worked before and we didn’t think it was time to do comfort care so I asked the Dr to insert the tube.

Then I laid there and thought ‘Did we make the correct decision?’ I got out of bed and prayed by my side. I’m pretty sure Preston did the same. I now wish we would have prayed together and stood together in God’s presence with our pleas. But we were tired. It was the middle of the night. It had been an exhausting 41 days since his birth; we did what we did. Something else I have regretted since, we decided to go back to sleep, wake up with the kids and go to the hospital after 10- when parents were allowed to go in. I wish I would have been there to hold his hand longer. I just didn’t know my time left with him was less than 24 hours. We tried so hard to find a good balance to taking care of all our kids. So hard.

I went over to my in laws to call for an update around 7am. He had a nurse who had never been with him before. She proceeded to tell me things that I already knew; explaining him like it was my first time meeting him. I was annoyed. Her report wasn’t good. I hung up and cried. My mother in law hugged me and was so sorry we had to go through this. We sent the children with her to Church and headed to the hospital. It was a long, quiet ride. On the way, Preston reminded me that 6 days prior he felt God telling him that on Sunday there would be a change. We assumed and/or hoped that the change would be for the good and Isaac would be healed and would go home with us.

Even though we arrived when parents were allowed to go into the NICU, we were asked to wait in the waiting room. They must have been doing some procedure to Isaac. We waited for awhile I think. Another Dr was on call now; the one I really liked. God’s angel in Dr form- I’m now convinced. Another nurse- one I was familiar with, was now Isaac’s nurse- I was happy about that too. They told us that the chest tube was inserted but he still had fluid. They suggested that we give them permission to try to give him steroids to reduce the fluid. We gave permission. I don’t think he ever got the steroids. We sat with him for awhile but then went to get lunch. I think he was having something done and we were asked to leave for awhile.

So we went to lunch thinking he was going to get steroids and would get better. All that came crashing down when we went back up. It could have been a longer time frame but in my memory we went back into the room and within moments we were talking about letting him go. Again, I did not see this coming. I felt like I was being run over by a bus; it came so quick and fast. Isaac’s co2 levels kept rising; he was fighting everything they were trying to do; they couldn’t get the levels down. The Dr had been called over to his bed, she was manually squeezing air into his lungs to try to get oxygen in. She called a specialist- ironically the heart Dr we had seen while Isaac was in vitro- to come check his lungs. The picture wasn’t good. To me, it looked like his right lung was stone. She said it was irreparable damage. At this point, she got very honest. He was down to one lung. She was pushing air into his lungs at such a high pressure that it would have destroyed our lungs but yet it hardly moved his lungs at all. His co2 levels had spiked so many times that she feared there would be brain damage. ‘He wouldn’t be the same Isaac, I’m afraid.’ In her kind, gentle way; she wouldn’t even pose the question to us, so we wouldn’t have to utter the words ‘take him off support.’ She said please trust me and let’s do what is best for him. We both knew what that meant and we agreed.

(Feel free to take a break to blow your nose, I am)

I think at this point or maybe before hand, Preston and I went to a private room to pow wow. My mom and sister had arrived. I now wish I had taken some more time to talk to my husband and pray but I saw my Mom and wanted to talk to her; you never out grow needing your Momma. Dividers were put up around Isaac’s corner to give us some privacy. My Mom and sister were given special permission to come in the room with us. The Dr was in take charge mode but did it ever so sweetly. She ordered for Isaac to be given a bath, by me, for clothes to be found that would go over his defect and all the tubes. The goal was to keep him alive in order for our children, Preston’s parents and sister to come see him; 5 out of the 6 of them hadn’t met him yet. Dr Bode continued to manually bag Isaac while the nurse helped me bath him. I was trying to savor every moment because I knew it was the last chance I had. At this point we had another nurse, one I had met before but not one I had built a relationship with- I think that was the best for everyone. God knew what He was doing when He made up the shift schedule that day. After Isaac was clean and clothed, they brought a rocking chair in for me to sit in while I held him. MY FIRST TIME EVER HOLDING HIM. I had waited 6 1/2 long weeks for this moment. I was so excited but so heart broken bc I knew it was my first and last time. That Dr sat on a foot stool near my feet and pumped air into that baby while I held him. Preston stood lovingly next to me, rubbing my shoulders. When Isaac was stable, it was time to move to the private room. God had worked it out for this to happen during a shift change which meant the parents were out of the NICU. In fact, just as we were making our way through the halls it was time for them to re enter but Dr Bode barked for the doors to be reclosed and the parents be asked to wait a moment. Such a blessing. We didn’t have to be on display for all to see. I held Isaac as the Dr walked next to me giving him oxygen (all in all, that woman probably pumped air into our baby for 2-3 hours, having 2 short breaks. Nurses asked if she wanted to be relieved and she refused.) Preston walked behind me. A nurse was behind him holding tubes and other things. A respirator tech was behind her bringing the oxygen. My mom and sister were in the parade somewhere too.

The rest of the family arrived shortly after. The kids sat on the couch next to us and each took turns holding Isaac. We had family pictures taken. The Dr kindly talked to the kids; she was very adamant that this process be very kid friendly, she did not want them to be scared. She really did a good job at protecting their hearts. Then it was time to say good bye. She quietly advised us that she would slowly stop pumping and then Isaac would let out his last breath. She predicted that it wouldn’t take long bc he was probably around in a coma bc of the lack of oxygen. She was right. Seconds after she stopped pumping, I felt the last breath as I held him. I’m still surprised by it. Even when we were told he may die, when I envisioned having to hold his funeral, I still didn’t think I would actually have to do it. I thought God was going to heal him just like hundreds of people had asked him to do for 9 months. The rest of the family took turns holding Isaac; Preston’s Dad chose not to. Then they took the kids home so we could finish up.

We had paper work to fill out, decisions about the funeral home to make. Isaac’s foot prints were taken. We were told we could have as much time with Isaac as we wanted. He was given to me again. But at this point, his body was starting to get cold and it was too much for me to take. I gave him to Preston. I went out with a grief specialist to give Preston some time with Isaac. And then we left. Down the elevators and out the doors that we had be in and through hundreds of time. For the last time. It was so surreal. Our good friends Ben and Kirsten arrived just as we were leaving; state troopers aren’t allowed to leave while on duty very easily. They went with us to the Ronald McDonald house to pick up our belongings. The hospital must have called them because the man on duty came and told us that we didn’t need to clean the room. So kind. I left a note for the house manager who we had built a relationship with. There was a mother and grandmother there whose daughter had a similar problem to Isaac. The mom gave me a quizzical look and I told her Isaac had passed away and wished her much luck with her daughter. I didn’t wish what we were going through on anyone. Preston drove us home with our friends following behind.

A year hasn’t erased the memories or hurt. I was wondering to myself today if I had healed any yet. On some days I think I have and reality is I probably have a bit, but the wound is still very open. As it probably should be. Some moments I think ‘maybe I’ll feel better when I have a baby of my own to hold and keep’. And probably in ways I will. But whomever comes next won’t replace Isaac. He’ll always be my sweet, strong, handsome boy. There will only ever be one Isaac Kosuke. I’m so very sad that I didn’t have more time with him but I am thankful that I had 42 days. I’m thankful I saw his beautiful eyes. I’m thankful for the times he teased me and showed me some orneriness. I’m thankful for the moments I read and sang to him or just quietly held his hand. i’m thankful for our special firework night. I’m thankful for the times i watched my husband be his Daddy. I’m thankful for his life.

I love you Isaac.

~Momma

Original material by Carrie Diehl, ©2013.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.  bpspecialp07-22-13