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Let there be Joy!

I have been concentrating on the word “joy” lately. I’m trying to teach my children to find joy in the little things, the difficult things, and the not-so-nice things. It is a hard habit to learn, but I am convinced it will pay off. My husband once told me that if I wasn’t content right now, I never would be. He was right. We must learn to carpe diem, “seize the day,” or better yet, find joy in the moment. Life is full of disappointments. If we don’t learn to look for joy, it probably won’t find us by accident.

Christmas is a very difficult time of year. There are family gatherings that inevitably end in hurt feelings due to thoughtless comments and idle words that seem to cut to our very soul. There is talk of babies and children everywhere. We sit in church and pictures of a baby Jesus are flashed on the screen and hung on the walls. Yes, we understand the meaning of Christmas, but the “baby thing” just seems to scream at us above everything else.

Mary truly had a perfect pregnancy. She had assurance that no matter what, this baby was going to be born – safe and healthy. What a gift! If there is one thing that I have learned from having lost four children, it is that no pregnancy is a guarantee. It doesn’t matter what you do or how hard you try, you have very little control over the end result. Mary didn’t have to worry about that at all. Baby Jesus was a sure thing.

Mary just had a “few” other issues to worry about, such as everyone thinking that she had been unfaithful to Joseph (which was punishable by death), the fact that she would have to ride about 80 miles on the back of a donkey at nine months pregnant (which would take about a week), having to deliver her baby alone in a cattle barn (do you remember how physically awful the days following a birth can be?), and having to flee to a foreign country with a young toddler because the King himself wanted her child dead!(Could you imagine having to be responsible to protect the Son of God?)

Mary had the very thing that I would have loved to have – just once – a guaranteed pregnancy, and yet, I’m not sure that Mary had a whole lot to find joy in. However, she did! Even in the midst of uncomfortable and chaotic circumstances, she still found a way to have joy. How?

Before Jesus birth:

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. Luke 1:46-55

 

…and after Jesus birth:

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19

I think that if we took a moment to think about it, we would be able to find that joy, even in the worst of circumstances. Scripture tells us that one of the natural results of being a child of God is joy.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Galatians 5:22-23a

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

Also, look at Who is responsible to provide the joy. We just need to ask!

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12

For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy. Ecclesiastes 2:26a

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:7-11

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Acts 2:28

So, I’m not sure where you are at right now. Maybe life just isn’t working out the way that you think that it should. Maybe you are having trouble finding joy in your current circumstances. Let me challenge you to begin to ask God to restore joy to your soul, and keep asking until you see the joy of the Lord return to your life. It’s simple. You just have to do it. Don’t let the devil steal this gift that God has promised to you. God desires you to live victoriously! Now, go and do the next right thing!

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6912-31-15

 

Why Should I Trust Him?

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

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

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

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

FAITH:

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

 

TRUST:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOPE:

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

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

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

Romans 8:24-30 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Objects in Mirror may be Dumber that they Appear

In today’s world of advancing technology, we are only as dumb as the device we are using. When we communicate, we no longer have “(sp?)” after ten words. We just use the spell check. If we want to use a bigger, more complex word, we just click on the thesaurus and get eight “smarter” versions of the “dumb” word that we originally picked. No one even sees our sloppy handwriting anymore, as everything is sent by facebook and text messages. When we make meals, we no longer have to rely on the 50 best recipes from our grandmother’s cookbook. We can simply go to allrecipes.com and type in the five ingredients sitting in our refrigerator. The smart site will create an elegant dish that is fit for Rachel Ray herself. If you are having trouble coming up with a snack for little Johnny’s class party, just type the theme into Pinterest and voila! When you take those Eiffel tower cheese and cracker creations into his teacher tomorrow, she will think that Martha Stewart is your new best friend.
The list could go on and on. Everything from making your own cleaning products to building a go-cart for your child can be easily done by watching a YouTube video. We are in a world of make-believe. Facebook allows you to be anything you want to be. By posting the perfect pictures (that you altered on Photoshop), you can look great. By only posting choice comments and experiences, you can appear positive and brave, lonely and critical, victimized and abused, or social and thrilled to be alive. Hundreds of people see the “modified” you every day, but only a few truly know who you really are.

We “borrow” knowledge day after day, whether it is to appear smarter or whether it is to accomplish a task with greater ease. We rarely go a day using our own heads to work through responsibilities and to complete chores. So my question is this: Why do we try to rely on our own wisdom to address our spiritual issues? We struggle with grief, anger, loneliness, jealousy, and guilt in our marriage and our friendships. We feel lost when it comes to our purpose and identity. We feel powerless to change anything about ourselves. If the 463 friends we have on facebook knew about our issues, what would they think?!?

It’s time to get real. It’s time to begin addressing these hidden blemishes in our reflections and make some changes. But how? There isn’t an App for that. However, there is a verse for that. How about going back to Scripture? Yes, it’s old-fashioned. It’s waaay last century. Nevertheless, it is tried and true. It works – every time! Truth will never have “bugs” or need updates installed. The only “power surge” you will experience, is in your heart and life. God has promised to meet every need and to direct our every step. Use His wisdom to make your life more “user friendly.”

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

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

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

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp54p04-25-14

 

Sufficiency in all Things

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

 

Dear Father,

I would like to lift up my fellow moms, who have been asked to return a child into your arms. This is certainly no easy sacrifice. We can either choose to do it willingly, or we can become bitter and angry. My prayer is that you would equip us with the tools necessary to allow you to have your will and way in our lives and let us live victoriously, and that we would open our clenched fists and willingly give back what you have asked of us.

First of all, I ask for wisdom. Please, give us wisdom to trust your sovereign hand. There is such freedom in your sovereignty, if only we would seize it, but it takes wisdom from above to blindly trust in your unseen hand. (James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.)

Next, I ask for patience. Waiting is so difficult, especially when our desire is so strong. However, if we truly believe that God’s timing is absolutely perfect, we will find that waiting allows us to grow and to prepare for what God is going to do in our lives. (Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Ecclesiastes 7:8 – Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.)

Third, I ask for peace. Often, even when we are able to control our attitudes and actions, our heart and mind is racing. We are working on a “plan B,” just in case you do not come through for us. Please, allow us to rest. You are the God of all peace. May you bestow your peace on us, as we wait. (Psalm 4:8 – In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.)

Next, I ask that you would give us faith to believe in your words. Allow us to rest assured that you will only do what is best for us, every. single. time. Give us faith to believe in what we cannot see. Make us confident in our faith, so that we are able to move mountians. Make our faith grow, as we walk this path of pain. (1 Corinthians 2:5 – That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight. Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.)

I ask for grace. Not just grace for us as we endure this struggle, but also that we would give grace to others, especially with our speech. As you write your story into our lives, many will question, comment, ridicule, and give advice. Please allow us to remember that not only do many of these people lack the understanding and the experience to properly speak into our lives and situations, they often just lack tact. So often, we ourselves, have spoken before we have thought our words through. We have hurt others with our lack of control. Allow us to remember this, when we are dealing with others. Remind us of the grace you give us each day, and allow us to give it freely to others. (John 1:16 – For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.)

Hope. Please, give us endurance in hope. Please, do not allow the enemy to steal this from us. You have promised to give us everything that we need, not always everything that we want, but this promise should be enough to keep our hope secure in you. (1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.)

Lastly, I ask that you will give us thankful and joyful spirits, as we walk this, sometimes, weary and painful road. Remind us that our true identity lies only in you. Because of this, we can be thankful and joyful in any circumstance, knowing that you are molding us and creating a thing of beauty in our lives, even when we cannot see it. (James 1:2-8 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.)

Thank you for your promises that give us freedom and life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Original material posted on Mommies with Hope by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6409-10-14

Joy Comes with the Mourning

 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

When was the last time that you can say that you felt true joy? For some, it may be in the past week. For others, it may feel like it has been forever. When I wrote my book, I chose the title, “Joy Comes with the Mourning,” for a reason. I became convinced that joy is supposed to accompany pain, grief, and heartache.

Think about it. Every single person you know is either just coming out of a trial, going through a current trial, or headed for a trial in the near future. God promised that our lives would not be easy. He promised that trials would come – over and over and over again. I found myself constantly discontent, always waiting for the break between the storms. Did He really want us to live sad and defeated lives, with only flashes of joy?

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. I Peter 4:12, 16, 19

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

We have two choices, when we face trials. We can succumb, or we can succeed. We can allow the difficult times to overtake us, or we can choose to live victoriously. There are several things we need to understand in order to rise above our circumstances and find joy.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Psalm 51:8

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

  1. We must live in the “now.” I really like the quote that says, “Forgive me, Father…You gave me the perfect gift of ‘right now,’ and I threw it away, hoping for a better gift later.” So often, we live in the regrets of the past or in the desires of the future. We tell ourselves, “I will be happy when _______ happens, or when __________ is over.” We deprive ourselves of joyful living, because we do not think that we can possibly find joy in our current circumstances. Learn to find joy, no matter where you are, and no matter what you are going through.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Psalm 27:6

 

  1. We must focus on the appropriate goal. Our chief goal should be to become more like Christ, and to serve Him with our lives. We often tend to concentrate on what is happening around us, instead of on Who is controlling it. If we can claim the sovereignty of God, we will find true and lasting freedom. Our perspective has a lot to do with our perception. Christ is our “true north.” Keep your sight set on Him.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

  1. We must also understand the difference between “happiness” and “joy.”

Happiness is most often associated with our circumstances or experiences. Happiness comes when everything is going “right” in our world. Happiness is not a bad thing, but it must be understood that it is fleeting – it will come and go without notice. Joy, on the other hand, is based on truth – on a belief system. Instead of needing a “state of well-being,” that happiness requires, it calls for a “sense of well-being.” The difference is not in the circumstance, but in the state of mind. It’s not having everything that you want and desire, rather, it is wanting and desiring what you already have and being content with that. It is holding out hope that God’s promises are sure and that everything will work out for our good and for God’s glory. It is knowing that every circumstance and experience in our life is designed to bring us closer to God, and to mold us into Christ-likeness. As Christians, this should be our ultimate desire.” – Excerpt from “Joy Comes…,” Holly M. Besser, Perfect Joy Ministries, Copyright 2014 https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/joy-comes/

 

  1. Be thankful! Not only when you feel like it, but also when all seems lost. Remember Who will ultimately give you the victory in this trial. His ways will never be thwarted – not by us or by anything that can happen to us. Why do you have to go through this? Even when we may not see reasons in this lifetime, the primary answer is always the same: For your good and for God’s glory…every. single. time.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6208-12-14

Original post at: http://mommieswithhope.com/2014/08/11/joy-comes-with-the-mourning/

A Fairy Tale Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Just Sing!

We all have those days – the ones that you just want to stay in bed. Your energy is at zero, and your desire to change it is about the same. Your body hurts, and so does your heart. Everything seems wrong. The life that you had planned has been replaced with circumstances that you couldn’t have dreamed of. You feel crushed, defeated.

It is during these times that we often have no idea how to get “normal” back. We aren’t even sure if that is what we want. We just know that we don’t want to feel like “this” forever. God feels so far away. Family and friends don’t get it. However, life goes on. How can we move forward, even when we cannot just “move on” or “get over it?”

I have found that in my deepest, darkest moments, music often speaks to my heart in ways that nothing else can. Music is a very common theme in Scripture. Singing and dancing are mentioned over and over – in good times and in difficult ones. My suggestion: Try singing! (Even if you don’t feel like it.) Why bother? Here are some reasons:

  1. God deserves the praise for what He has done in the past, and for what He will do in the future. His promises of redemption and healing are sure. In faith, praise Him for what He is going to do in your life, remembering what He has done for you in the past.

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1,3

  1. Even in the midst of pain and trials, God’s presence will go with us. His sovereign protection is a reason to sing!

For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:7

  1. God knows what you are going through. He knows every single tear that you shed. (Psalm 56:8) He feels our pain and reaches out to comfort us.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. Isaiah 49:13

  1. Others need to know what He is doing in your life. Don’t be ashamed to glorify Him. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him.

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. Hebrews 2:12

  1. This life is just a vapor. It is simply a training ground for our ultimate dwelling place. Everything that God allows to happen in our lives is for our good and for His glory. every. single. time. Never doubt that God will redeem and restore what you have lost, the pain you have endured, and the trials you have faced.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10

  1. Finally… Our God sings over you! Not only does He rejoice over you. Not only does He quiet you with His love. He exults over you with singing!! The All-Mighty God, The Creator of the Universe, The Commander of Angel Armies…sings over YOU! You are precious in His sight. (1 Peter 2:4) I like to think that sometimes, just sometimes, when He is quieting us by His love, that He sings lullabies to us – calming us with the gentleness of His hand. (Psalm 131)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Do not let your circumstances allow you to lose sight of the joy that is yours in Christ. If we have Christ, we have everything we need. Not everything we want, but everything we need. Allow Him to fill those voids in your heart and life with Himself. Lift your head and sing!!

How Sweet the Sound by Citizen Way – http://youtu.be/iXMNzaZgMEM

(If you need help getting started, visit https://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/music/ for a list of songs that have ministered to the women in our online support group.)

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6007-19-14