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Greener Grass

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”

We have all felt this way at one time or another. Otherwise, this phrase wouldn’t be a cliché. Sometimes it’s hard to be content to sit on our little patch of earth, when everywhere we look, things look so much better. Well, I’d like to share something with you that changed my perspective and, ultimately, my grass too.

What makes greener grass?

  1. The foundation. The base that the grass is growing in has to be ideal.

a. Free from rocks and other debris.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24(kjv)

           b. Rich, fertilized soil. Properly balanced soil needs to be tested and then, proper elements added to make the perfect environment.

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

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

            c. In a prime location.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said…Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:4-15

 2. The proper care. You can’t just drop the seed, you have to apply the appropriate components to make it grow.

a. Sun/Son – Salvation is the most important element.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36

                  b. Water

Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

                  c. Protection

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

                  d. Additional fertilizer

I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

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

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13

                  e. Time

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:7

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

Some say that the grass is always greener over the septic tank…either way, it takes hard work, patience, and often, a bit of difficulty to create the perfect lawn. Instead of dwelling on your neighbor’s patch of grass, take some time to work on your own. Remember, if you aren’t content right now, you never will be.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2016. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp7002-07-16

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“I’m good. How are you?”

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

This is the typical response, when asked how we are doing. We may have had the worst day ever, just finished a huge fight with our spouse, and had a fender-bender, but the minute another person asks how we are doing, we quickly respond with that expected response – “I’m good. How are you?”

How many times in a day do we pass someone and say, “How are you?” We don’t really expect them to tell us. It’s really more of a formality. How sad is that? How sad that we are too busy, too selfish, or too occupied to really find out how another human being is doing.

Why? I think there are several reasons for this. We don’t want to be rejected, laughed at, or be thought of as a complainer. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We don’t want someone to see our weaknesses. On the flip side, we don’t want to take the time to listen to someone else’s problems. We have enough of our own. If we find out that someone has a need, we might just feel like we need to meet that need. That takes empathy. Empathy takes work.

In the past few months, I have tried something new. I have tried to take that extra five minutes to really ask someone how they are doing. Usually that means repeating the question twice, so that they know that I really want to know the answer. It means looking them in the eyes, and maybe reaching out to touch them. It means being present in the moment. I can’t do this all the time, but I’m trying to do it more. You know what I found out? It’s worth it! It takes the focus off of myself and my problems, and allows me to minister to the heart of another. Sometimes, it allows me to stop right there and pray for them. Don’t just say that you will pray for them. Take 30 seconds and do it! What a huge blessing – for them and for me.

I bring up this topic, because I know that so many are hurting. You see the world through the filter of grief and heartache. I’m challenging you to stop and to take a minute to remove your self-focused glasses, and to see the struggles of those around you. This world is so much bigger than our current circumstances. Take a minute or five and next time you ask someone how they are doing, dig deeper and find out the real answer.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2015.  May not be used or re-printed without permission.  bp6808-19-15

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

 

Unimaginable

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

Ever feel like the desires of your heart will never become reality? Ever feel like God somehow overlooked your feelings, when He neglected to fulfill your deepest longings? Ever think that true joy is elusive, and that God is failing you?

Let me suggest a few things, which may demonstrate that you are putting God into a box that is just way too small.

  1. God will not force us to allow Him to take control. If we drop our burdens and desires at His feet, only to grab them back again, or if we cling to our heartbreak and our suffering, refusing to release them into His hands, He cannot work. We cry out to Him, questioning why He isn’t doing anything to fix our current plight, when at the same time, we tighten our grip on it, refusing to allow Him access to it. How can we expect to find true and lasting peace and joy, when we stubbornly carry around burdens that keep us bound in confusion, grief, and pain? We must allow our Heavenly Father to lift our burdens from our tired shoulders, and trust Him to do what He desires with them.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

  1. Often, our longings are not focused on the appropriate things. It is not wrong to ask God for and to desire blessings in our lives, but each and every one of our wants should be followed with the phrase, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” Ultimately, our greatest desire should be to glorify God, as we seek to become more like His Son. We must trust the sovereignty of All-Mighty God enough to realize that He will only do what is the very best for us. When this becomes our heart’s cry, we will find that the things of this world truly do “grow strangely dim.” The fulfillment of our wants will no longer determine the level of our joy. Instead, we will find our satisfaction in complete and utter obedience to God.

I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:19

  1. We often forget that God is unchangeable, unshakable, unstoppable, and unimaginable. Our little human minds cannot fathom the extent of His power and the depth of His understanding. We cannot even begin to grasp the measure of His wisdom. God executes His design in dimensions that we cannot even imagine. Think of the complexity of this solar system – from the workings of the human body to the unexplored regions of the ocean, to the heavens, which alone keep scientist pursuing and discovering in endless amazement and wonder. If He created this sophisticated universe with such diversity and such mystery for the pleasure of the human race, what must paradise, God’s dwelling place, be like? Our feeble and finite minds cannot begin to comprehend what our God is capable of.  Many times, when we do not attain our desires, we automatically assume that the opposite of our desires – which is far worse – will befall us; however, in reality, God’s plan is greater than we can even dream of. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We forget that God is not of this world, rather, He created and now holds this world in the palm of His hand. His best for us is so much more awesome than we can ever possibly wish for, so again, our over-riding desire should be, “Not my will, but Your’s be done,” knowing that His plan leads to everlasting joy.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

  1. We just assume that our desires will make us happy. It is so hard for us to imagine that what we want may not really be what we actually want. Last week, my six year old son did not want to get out of our pool. I asked him to get out, and he started into a tantrum. I went on to explain that dark clouds were gathering it was beginning to thunder, and that lightning was very dangerous, especially near water. His angry tantrum very quickly turned into a mad rush to get into the house. His immature mind had him believing that the only thing that would make him happy was to stay in the water. When he got a dose of wisdom, he quickly decided that his desire was actually not so desirable after all. Perspective has an amazing way of changing what we believe. Because God does not choose to give us reasons for everything that He allows or brings into our lives, we must trust that His promises are sure, that He desires to protect us, will only give us the very best, and that the eventual redemption of our heartache will be far greater than the pain we suffer. Whatever we are willing to pour out in sacrifice to Him, will be multiplied and returned to us. It is not simply a “loss,” it is actually an eternal investment.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6

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

  1. Another reason we often feel slighted is that we believe that we deserve our desires. We feel that somehow we are entitled to our wants, and that if we do not receive them, life isn’t fair. We use comparison to justify our worthiness. (i.e. “If that person can have three children and treat them like that, I deserve to at least have one.”) The biggest problem with comparison is that your standard of measurement is, most likely, not just. You cannot read the hearts and minds of others. You are comparing your “insides” to another person’s “outsides.” We need to stop looking around and start looking up. We need to measure our worthiness to God’s standards. We are all broken and flawed. None of us deserve anything good. We all deserve eternal punishment. It is only through Jesus that we are worthy of anything. Everything we receive is a gift and a blessing that originates from unmerited grace alone, and reflects the power and glory of God. Because of this, we must learn to accept and hold these gifts with open hands, knowing that if God asks for them back, He has a perfect reason.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12b

  1. Our beliefs do not change truth. If you believe that the sky is orange, it doesn’t change the truth that the sky is actually blue. Our lack of wisdom that allows us to fall for lies, will not hinder God’s promises from being fulfilled. We cannot thwart His plans. We are all broken and flawed individuals. We will make mistakes and be deceived over and over. However, these will only serve to remind us that we need a Savior. Like little children, we must trust in the strength of His arms to catch us, every single time. What a comfort! Rest in the truth.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

 

Original material by Holly M. Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp47p07-28-14

Just Sing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Consuming Desires

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

It is so difficult, if not impossible at times, to avoid becoming consumed with our current desire. Whether it is love, marriage, having children, getting a better job, a better car, or a better house, we tend to allow these things to become the center of our universe. When things are going “right,” we are joyful and thankful, but when times get tough, we get angry and bitter. We love God when we can control the outcome of our circumstances, but as soon as He begins to work and takes away our control, we question and turn away from Him.

The Problem?

When we allow circumstantial things to control our attitudes, actions, and even our belief systems, we are asking for a rough ride. It is like building our lives on shifting sand. When our plans fall through or things do not turn out the way we envisioned them, we see ourselves as failures at life in general. We feel incomplete. We feel lost. Our world crashes down around us.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27

Because we plan on our lives going in a particular direction, we often set unrealistic expectations. We begin to get confused between what we can control and what we cannot. Anger, guilt, and bitterness flood our hearts, as we feel wronged, incompetent, and worthless. (i.e. “If I want a baby, but cannot get pregnant, or cannot hold a pregnancy, I must be broken.” “If I do not currently have a child, I am not complete as a woman. Being a mother will complete me and make me happy.”) We are tricked into believing that we can somehow control these circumstances in our lives. In reality, we can do very little to affect when and how most things happen in our lives. What we can control is our response to what God allows to take place. We need to take time, frequently, in our lives to step back and determine what we can control and what we need to leave at the feet of Jesus. This surrender will release us.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.Proverbs 16:9

A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?Proverbs 20:24

I have mentioned this before, but if we aren’t careful, we will allow our desires to become our identity. We will view the person that we are through this filter of accomplishment or lack thereof. This is dangerous and very wrong. Satan will use this to gain a foothold into your heart and mind, feeding you lies and deceiving you straight into the evil grasp of depression and misery.

You will find that when your desires become your identity, you begin to live a “what if?” life. You will take on a “would’a, could’a, should’a” attitude. You will find yourself using the word “unfair” to describe your current circumstances, and “deserve” to describe what you desire your circumstances to be. Living this way allows discontent, bitterness, and jealousy to take over your heart.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.Galatians 6:7

The Solution?

The sovereignty of God and the unfailing truth of His Word.

The sovereignty of God allows Him to take control of what we cannot. It allows an all-knowing, all-powerful God to stand at the end of our life and then, reach back, take our hand, and lead us through it. What safety! What peace! What freedom! This sovereignty allows us to find security in knowing that it is already worked out – from beginning to end. We cannot thwart the plans of all-mighty God. We do not have the ability to make His plan better, and neither do we have the lack of ability to make His plan fail. What a relief that should be to our often guilt-ridden hearts.

Of course, as humans, our minds will often wander to what might have been. However, that is the moment that we remember that God’s ways are better than anything we could ever imagine. In our minds, the hypothetical is always perfect. The actual reality may have been far different. We must trust that God knows best.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.Psalm 19:14

The words “deserve” and “fair” are dangerous ones. When you are tempted to use these words, take a moment to consider what is truly fair and what you truly deserve. Each one of us is blessed beyond measure. Each of us has more than we need. We have not been promised that our desires would all be met in full. We not been guaranteed a perfect or easy life. We must learn to be thankful and joyful for what we have been given, patient in prayer for what we still desire, and content in faith that God will only give us what is best for us.

The truth will set you free! This is a promise. God’s Word never fails. His promises are never broken. When you are trying living up to impossible expectations, judging ourselves by unfair measures, and condemning ourselves to live defeated lives, we are living a life based on lies. We must seek the truth. The truth about ourselves and the identity we have in Christ, which is never dependent upon what we accomplish, the truth about God and His deep desire to love us as His children – giving us only what is good for us, and lastly, the truth about our circumstances and desires. We must continually feed ourselves the truth, even when it hurts, even when we don’t feel like it, and even when we don’t really believe it. Because, trust me, when the truth spreads from you head into your heart, a peace and understanding, like you have never known, will flood your life. You will find joy and thanksgiving, in the midst of pain and grief, loss and fear, and tragedy and heartbreak.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Our identity should be found only in our position in Christ. No matter what we do or what happens, our identity as God’s child will not falter. Because we did nothing to secure this identity, we can do nothing to lose it either. There will be many roles that we are called to fill throughout life, and we must be sure to avoid confusing our roles with our identity.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.Romans 8:16-17

If you do not have a personal relationship with God, or if you have wandered from His embrace, I urge you to contact us (joycomeswiththemourning@hotmail.com) or talk to someone you know, who can help you. Don’t waste another moment lost in helplessness and defeat. Our desire at Perfect Joy Ministries is to see you turn tragedy into triumph, pain into praise, and grief into glory. We desire to see you live a victorious and joy filled life, as you take the circumstances you find yourself in and turn it into an offering of praise unto God.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Acts 2:21

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.John 6:37

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Allow Him to carry your burdens, manage your circumstances, and His truth to make your life a life worth living.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp5907-03-14