Tag Archives: trials

God

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” Psalm 46:1-2 NKJV

Our family can testify to this.

In the last two years our family has experienced trails.

Anne broke her arm, hyperextended her thumb, and sprained her ankle.

Bell bruised her spleen, busted her knee open, recieved a concussion, and suffered through an ovarian cyst.

My husband has gone through extensive stretching from work related issues, including possible relocation and continuing reorganization within the company.

My health has broken down to the point of living separately from my family so our house could be remodeled only to find it isn’t worth the effort and our plans now are to rebuild.

The process of rebuilding has been grueling and we still have major circumstances which we are praying for God to orchestrate so we can move forward.

Our everyday has been so changed by all these unexpected trials.

Even to the point of discouragement, my husband and myself have walked through these things.

Yet, God.

No matter how frightening,

(the feeling in my heart as Bell was in the ER waiting to see if her spleen had been ruptured)

God is our refuge and strength.

No matter how frustrating,

(the experience of complete helplessness as I lay in bed, too sick to rise)

God is our refuge and strength.

No matter what comes,

(we are praying and looking for the Lord to build, because we do not want to do anything without Jesus in the midst)

God is our refuge and strength.

He is faithful.

Anne not only healed from her injuries, she was able to participate in both volleyball and basketball. She has learned to cook and how to plan for many meals. Her shyness has been placed underneath God’s will and she has been learning how to love people with everyday thoughtfulness.

Bell has walked through physical pain and learned how to endure. She has been training her body for this season of track, but has also found joy in learning to exercise, eat well, and be wise with the tent she is in. Her track season has been a fulfillment of the hours she has spent at the gym. And the Lord is using her to bless others in this same area. She has taken the initiative to finish high school and move on to college all on her own. She has left childhood and walked into adulthood.

My husband has been stretched and grown and softened and strengthened and become even more a man of God. His tender care of me as I have been physically reduced to tears and pain has been a greater treasure than a room full of the purest gold. His smile and love and fatherly guidance has been a joy.

Our son has learned how to do things we never would have thought to ask if there had not been need. He has improved so greatly in understanding how to help and serve another. He is gentle and kindhearted. He doesn’t like to see us hurting, but he’s working hard to help us feel better. And he’s reading! After all these years of struggle and torture trying over and over, he is reading on his own.

And just because God is so incredible, our family has been so blessed by the addition of our granddaughter Faith.

As for myself,

I’m learning peace, joy, and personal relationship with Christ like never before.

It is beyond any words of expression.

I can say we all are so thankful to the Lord for all He has done.

Our lives are a testament to how great God is.

Our family truly can state:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Psalms

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Proverbs speaks wisdom for life.

And I always think of Solomon when looking at a lily.

Probably because of Jesus.

He said, “So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matt. 6:28-29 NKJV

Throughout my adulthood I’ve looked to Proverbs for nuggets of truth I could apply to my thoughts.

Over the last several weeks I’ve been struggling.

My health has been and remains poor.

Our family has gone through major upheaval.

And our future is uncertain.

In these days I’ve been reading Psalms.

Psalm 23 has been my life chapter for many years now.

I have gained such comfort from copying it down over and over.

My prayer journal is riddled with verses from the psalms.

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.” Ps. 146:5 NKJV

“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down;” Ps. 146:8 NKJV

As I have walked these days of struggle I’ve experienced the Lord in new ways.

He has challenged me to be more honest and less guarded with my family.

He has reprimanded me when my attitude and actions have been dishonorable.

He has comforted and encouraged me far beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Jesus, Himself has touched my soul in a whole new way.

And I have struggled.

I’ve struggled with fear.

I’ve struggled with anger.

I’ve struggled with loneliness.

While struggling in each of these ways,
I can testify to God’s faithful love.

He’s never been harsh.

He’s never been exacting.

He’s never even left me to my own self-pity.

And He’s holding me in His hand.

And that’s not all.

My children have grown closer to each other and to us.

My husband and I have found and even greater depth in our relationship.

Even in the days I’m too ill to rise I have joy in prayer.

Even in nights when I’m awake more times than I choose to count I have thanksgiving.

Even in the humility of missing my daughter’s volleyball games or in instructions on how to cook certain meals, I can rejoice in the character building in our children.

I didn’t know my daughter knew how to make homemade hash browns or our son knew how to take veggies and meat and make stir-fry.

So as I pray for today, I’m looking at the Psalms.

What balm for the soul are hidden in these words:

“The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:17-18 NKJV

“A few days…”

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This is a highlight in our lives right now.

We are taking care of a pair of kittens while Sis and hubby are on a trip.

It’s a bright spot in our days which have felt overwhelming to say the least.

With our daughters both taking trips to the ER.

With our water and electrical issues.

With the blessings and work of updating the bathroom and Jase’s bedroom.

With our daughter’s car breaking down.

With the stress and upheaval at my husband’s job.

With Christmas and basketball and family commitments.

With relationships.

We are weary, injured, and a bit raw.

I can slightly imagine what Job felt like when he said, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1 NKJV

Yes, at times it feels like there is so much trouble.

Pain and need and loss.

Where is the rest in it all?

Where is the comfort?

There is an answer.

JESUS.

He was with us in the hospital while we waited eagerly to hear if our daughter had internal bleeding.

He was with us when we walked the yard trying to find out why our well wasn’t working.

He was guiding while we prayed about which project to finish first.

He was comforting when we sat together and cried.

He was teaching when we opened our hearts to one another and prayed for answers.

Job was answered too.

God Himself spoke with Job,

And Job learned.

I wish we were past all these things.

I wish lessons were easier.

But in these moments of selfish weakness I’m reminded.

It is the difficult costly things which are so valuable.

Character is honed through trials.

Faith is built by walking through the unknown and trusting God.

Patience is gained by learning to wait with joy and by repeated lessons of trying.

Honor and dignity are traits of those who walked through the stressful, painful, costly, and long suffering with joy, meekness, wisdom, peace, and perseverance.

No wonder the Lord has had me reading James.

I cling to these verses and pray to be able to be peaceful, wise, gentle, loving, and kind.

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Trials

DSC_0015Like a rose with thorns, this life’s beauty can often be riddled with pain.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. “ James 1:2

 
What is to be done when trials come?
How is tragedy to be handled?
When discouragement whispers louder each day and seems to be more truth than fiction–
Maybe I am the only one who lays awake,
Stripped down to the bone and gristle of emotion
Numb from the pain,
Trying to sort out what to do next.
But I doubt it.
I know others who have shared their pain with me,
Their moments of doubt,
Their tragedies,
And I hold them in my heart wondering how best to act, how to help shoulder the load.
For that is my heart cry:
To help
Encourage
Bless.
But what do we do with trials?
How do we guard from discouragement?
Where do we turn when the terrible strikes?
I have a dear friend,
Who I have heard say that James 1:2 means, for them, to be joyful not because the trial is fun, or that they like the trial,
(For it stinks!) They add.
But because they can have joy in the Lord.
I agree.
In the shadow I have struggled finding it.
In the moments of naked darkness,
When joy seemed a distant memory–
A hand has reached into mine and held me up.
The times when all seemed desolate
My Lord Jesus has been there,
Comforting
Solid
Tender
For me I can have joy in the trial,
Peace in the shadow,
Comfort in the broken.
And patience has grown.
I no longer despair as I have in the past that the night shall never end,
The tunnel never break into sunshine,
Instead I slip my fingers around my Savior’s hand,
and
hold on.