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What is in a Tear?

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

Psalm 56:8

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

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

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

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

 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tears from cutting onions

tears5

Tears of grief

tears4

Basal tears

tears3

Tears of change

tears2

Tears from laughing

tears1

Psalm 116:1-8

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

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

When Hope is Gone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Catch the Wave

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

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

Step 1:

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

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

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

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

Step 2:

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

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

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

Step 3:

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

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

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

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

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

Step 4:

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

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

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

Step 5:

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

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

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

Step 6:

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

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

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

Step 7:

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

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

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

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

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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

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

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The Mother-Child Bond

I’m not much of a science wizard, but I recently did a tiny bit of “research” on microchimerism. Yes, it sounds weird, but I think that you may find it as interesting as I did.

Microchimerism is when two completely different genetic cells appear in the same individual, such as after an organ transplant. Did you know that this happens in pregnancy – no matter if you carry full-term or not? Cells from your unborn baby actually transfer into your bloodstream, and then travel to your organs, where they have been found to linger for decades! Y-chromosomes have been found in countless autopsies on women, indicating that they carried a male child. Even the babies we only carried in our womb for a few weeks, remain within our hearts – literally – and other organs, such as our brain, liver, kidney, thyroid, and even our skin for years after their little bodies have left our womb.

Scientist have determined that healthier women tend to carry more microchimeric cells than women with cancer and other health issues. There has also been proof that if a mother carried her baby for at least 20 weeks, this transfer of cells may be physically beneficial to the mother. Some of these cells are thought to be fetal stem cells, which are then used by the mother’s body to aid in her healing processes. Doctors have found where these transferred fetal cells have “sought out” disease and injury in a mother’s body and have turned themselves into organ cells in order to repair damage. They even believe that some of these cells may help prevent the growth of some tumors.

Of course, not all is known about the effects of cell transfer, but I encourage you to read more about it. As I said before, I am definitely not a scientist, but I do think that this finding certainly reassures us that our God is awesome, and that once again, His ways are beyond finding out! He uses our pain and loss to heal and restore us, even when we cannot see it happening.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26:14

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scientists-discover-childrens-cells-living-in-mothers-brain
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fetal-cells-microchimerism
http://singularityhub.com/2013/02/05/new-studies-show-cells-from-fetus-end-up-in-mothers-brains-and-hearts/

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp36p05-12-13

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