Tag Archives: difficult circumstances

Upside-down Lunch

68039351-480pxWhat a life! The Nuthatch comes to my feeder, selects his lunch (or in this case, breakfast) and swoops to the trunk of a nearby tree. He then faces downward and starts cracking the nut, pinning against the tree. Over and over again, he comes and repeats the exact same habit, except perhaps to eat at another tree.

Why does he do that? Why does he face downward? How would you like to stand upside-down and eat? No thank you! Perhaps he does it to keep the crumbs out of his nose! That may be a byproduct of his habit but mostly he does it because that is how God made him.

Birds are amazing creatures. They certainly are creatures of habit! I remember one poor mother birth that had made her nest in a break in the soffit near our kitchen window. When we fixed it, she came the following spring and was all “kerfoodled.” She sat on the edge of the porch looking with confusion at the place she had always built. Poor birdie!

What circumstance has God put you in that is not comfortable? Are you facing life with a handicap? Is it difficult for you to go home at night and face the challenges awaiting you there? Or perhaps life is just not what you expected it to be?

As born-again believers we have a great “secret ingredient” for life—we have the power of God! Wow! When we apply it to life, peace comes into our hearts! The circumstances may not change, the challenges are still waiting, but we face them with our dearest Friend who holds all the answers we will ever need.  The question is, are we listening? Are we examining our hearts to see if there’s something that God wants to teach us? When our slate is clean, our sins are forgiven, and our will is yielded to our heavenly Father, we can face life—even if we need to do it upside-down.

1Corinthians 2:16 … But we have the mind of Christ.

Colossians1:27 … Christ in you, the hope of glory

Just a Taste

chocolate-meio-amargo-alfarroba-melhor-opcao-para-dieta-58878As I face another good-bye, I’m working HARD to keep focused! Our youngest son and his little family have been here for a week now. The Lord has blessed us with perfect weather and wonderful opportunities to pack in the memories! Now, it’s time to get back to “normal.”

Normal—what does that look like? Well, for me, it means one son and his family living 1,292miles away, this son and his family 674 miles living away, and our daughter and her family just down the road eleven miles. Up until March, our oldest son was just twenty miles down the road. We’re a close-knit family. We love to be together. One of my favorite family activities is singing together. We’ve ministered together, and for years that was “normal.” But it’s not normal now, and I’m still struggling to adjust to my new normal. How can I do that?

O taste and see…

I’ve “tasted” that sweet manna of my family all around me, so how do I settle for less? How do I settle for flavored chocolate when I’ve eaten Ghirardelli’s?

Little by little, the pieces fall into place, and I’ve come to realize that part of the healing process in any situation is understanding the pain. Why am I struggling so? Why can’t I just get over this? Why can’t I just be happy with where I am in life? Do you find yourself asking those questions? Well, I have the answers! NOT! But… I do know Someone who does, and He has taught me a few things:

  1. Get the labels right. This new normal is not less perfect than the old normal because it is God’s normal for me! How can a spouse endure the loss of a lifetime best friend unless he or she embraces this thought? How does a person endure a career change when he has lost his dream job? How does a mom deal with an injury that leaves her healthy child crippled? How can we cope when a teen chooses to stray down a deadly path?

O taste and see that the LORD is good…

In Psalm 34, David tells us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good! David wrote this psalm while he was running from Saul. He ran to Gaza, a major city of Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, and ended up feigning madness to escape. Great circumstances, don’t you think? He had enjoyed great success, but now he was a hunted man, and yet he gives us so many nuggets of true faith in this psalm.

  1. Live in the moment. That might sound like worldly advice but it is good advice. When we live in the past or live for the future, we miss today! Another way to put it, which is not original to me, is “keep your mind where your body is.”

Later, when David longed for the waters of Bethlehem, three of his valiant men risked their lives by breaking through the Philistine battle lines in order to grant his request. Longing for the past or hoping for the future can be deadly! At the very least, it makes us miserable today. It can also bring on depression and bitterness—two of Satan’s sharpest and deadliest weapons!

  1. Trust, trust, trust! Do I really believe that God knows best or are they just words?

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Spurgeon writes this:

“No one knows how sweet honey is till he tastes it, and even so the sweetness of true religion cannot be learned by mere hearing, we must try it for ourselves.  O Lord, help all in this family to prove the power of faith in Jesus, and the efficacy [effectiveness] of prayer to God for themselves.”quote

Trials will taste bitter unless we look past them to the One
who holds the spoon! Then we
see the love in His eyes, and His look sweetens the bitterest pill. We hear the love in His gentle voice, and we know that it is good because He only does what is best. We are blessed because we trust Him!

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (v. 10)

Again, Spurgeon writes:

“Lions are strong, fierce, and crafty, yet they hunger; men of the world are also very cunning and full of self-confidence, yet they are not satisfied.  But humble believers, though often weak, and in the world’s judgment, very foolish, are yet blessed with every needful blessing by their gracious God.”

Can you be a humble believer? Can you yield to whatever God puts in your path?  That’s the question that I ask myself, and I’m afraid to say, “no!” More than that, I don’t WANT to say, “no” because…

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

AND…

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (16-18)

One last note from Spurgeon, who fought what was called “causeless depression” most of his life:

“What a blessing to have a tender sense of sin.  We have heard of persons dying of a broken heart, but if repentance breaks our hearts we shall live eternally.”

When Hope Doesn’t Come

 

 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:

but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life

.Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred: late, delayed, postponed, tardy, overdue.

What do we do when our hope is delayed, postponed, or overdue?

My last post was written with joy and anticipation because my newest grandson was on his way to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for the first time.  Oh, the desire came, and if that’s the tree of life—well then, the tree of life is a really wonderful thing!

However, the reason for the visit was so that our son could audition at Penn State University for their Piano Performance Doctoral program.  However, a week before that, he received an email stating that there had been an oversight on their part.  Because his undergraduate work was done at a university which was not regionally accredited, he did not qualify, EVEN THOUGH he was finishing his master’s at an accredited university.  In spite of all the phone calls from both universities and conversations with professors, they would not budge, and my hope was not only deferred, it was dashed to the ground!   My heart continues to cry, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!”

You see, that audition would have opened the possibility that my newest grandson (oh yes, and his parents :)) would only be an hour and a half from here instead of eleven hours.  I didn’t realize how much I had already placed them there until the crash came!

Well, what do you do?  For me, I wrestled it to the Lord, and submitted to the fact that they would be in Wisconsin, near my daughter-by-choice’s family.  That was good.  I was happy for them.  It could work out.  However, that was not to be either!  Lord, what are you doing?????

So, second wrestling came into place.  God wants them to stay in South Carolina.

Now we move to our other son, who lives twenty minutes from us—the one who is interviewing in SOUTH DAKOTA!!!  What is this, Lord?  Who moves to South Dakota?  What’s there that isn’t here? 

It seems as though the Lord has really been putting us through the paces.  I suppose the situation surrounding the writing of “The Darkest Day of My Life.”  is far enough in the past to now mention it. Back in November, our nightmare started when I was accused of child abuse while subbing in our public elementary school.  Then the family also filed a harassment charge. That all hung over our heads throughout the holidays, but, praise the Lord, the abuse case was concluded as “unfounded” and the harassment, “not guilty.”  However, I’m still not back to work, waiting on a decision from the school district.  It seems as though the saying, “Innocent until proven guilty” is really the opposite: guilty until proven innocent, and then we’re still not sure.  Hopefully, they will soon consider me an asset and not a liability.

Woe is me! Hope deferred.  And what do we do when “the desire” never comes?  We pray, but God doesn’t see fit to answer our prayers according to  OUR plan. Why does He do that?

This is what I’ve found:

  1. God is ALWAYS good,

  2. God is ALWAYS right,

  3. God ALWAYS does what is BEST for me.

Here’s an illustration which may help us to see the situation more clearly: We hear a crash. We see a column of smoke several miles away.  We look as hard as we can, but we can’t see what has happened! But, the man in the helicopter who flies overhead knows exactly what is there.  He sees very clearly, not only the column of smoke, but he sees the crash.  He sees the path of wreckage, possibly even the cause of the accident.  He can even see survivors!

Our view of life is so limited, but we serve a God who sees the whole picture.  He knows the beginning and the end and every step in between.  He even sees my heart and knows the idols that are there.  He is the Great Physician-Surgeon who can take the scalpel of His plan and carve it into my will.  It may hurt A LOT, but I CAN trust in Him!  AND I will choose to trust in Him.  Please know that there is no other way for you to live closely by His side and have peace in your heart, joy in your step, and strength to walk the path when it’s strewn with disappointments and heartaches.  Our God is GOOD!!!!

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 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest (dwell confidently) in hope.Psalm 16:9

 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.Psalm 31:24

 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Jeremiah 18:12 YIKES!!! Lord, help me not to do this!

This I recall (make to return to my heart) to my mind, therefore have I hope.Lamentations 3:21

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Acts 2:26 Look at the verses surrounding this verse.  They are part of Peter’s Pentecostal sermon:

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 25-28

The Darkest Days of My Life

That’s quite a statement! What would make someone say that?  I can’t share my particular difficulties right now, but I do know that there’s not much else that Satan could throw my way that would be more difficult!

As I walked down our dirt road, my mind was in a whirl and my heart was heavy as I poured out my grief to God. Then these words came to my heart:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

When I returned home, I looked up the hymn and found this article:

A Protestant Episcopal Bi­shop of Mi­chi­gan once re­lat­ed the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent to a large au­di­ence in one of the Rev. E. P. Ham­mond’s meet­ings in St. Lou­is. “A young, tal­ent­ed and ten­der-heart­ed ac­tress was pass­ing along the street of a large ci­ty. See­ing a pale, sick girl ly­ing up­on a couch just with­in the half-open door of a beau­ti­ful dwell­ing, she en­tered, with the thought that by her vi­va­ci­ty and plea­sant con­ver­sa­tion she might cheer the young in­va­lid. The sick girl was a de­vot­ed Christ­ian, and her words, her pa­tience, her sub­mis­sion and hea­ven-lit coun­te­nance, so dem­on­strat­ed the spir­it of her re­li­gion that the ac­tress was led to give some ear­nest thought to the claims of Christ­i­an­i­ty, and was tho­rough­ly con­vert­ed, and be­came a true fol­low­er of Christ. She told her fa­ther, the lead­er of the the­a­ter troupe, of her con­ver­sion, and of her de­sire to aban­don the stage, stat­ing that she could not live a con­sis­tent Christ­ian life and fol­low the life of an ac­tress. Her fa­ther was as­ton­ished be­yond mea­sure, and told his daugh­ter that their liv­ing would be lost to them and their bu­si­ness ru­ined, if she per­sist­ed in her re­so­lu­tion. Lov­ing her fa­ther dear­ly, she was shak­en some­what in her pur­pose, and par­tial­ly con­sent­ed to fill the pub­lished en­gage­ment to be met in a few days. She was the star of the troupe, and a gen­er­al fa­vo­rite. Ev­ery prep­a­ra­tion was made for the play in which she was to ap­pear. The ev­en­ing came and the fa­ther re­joiced that he had won back his daugh­ter, and that their liv­ing was not to be lost. The hour ar­rived; a large au­di­ence had as­sem­bled. The cur­tain rose, and the young ac­tress stepped for­ward firm­ly amid the ap­plause of the mul­ti­tude. But an un­wont­ed light beamed from her beau­ti­ful face. Amid the breath­less si­lence of the au­di­ence, she re­peat­ed:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

This was all. Through Christ she had con­quered and, leav­ing the au­di­ence in tears, she re­tired from the stage, ne­ver to ap­pear up­on it again. Through her in­flu­ence her fa­ther was con­vert­ed, and through their unit­ed evan­gel­is­tic la­bors ma­ny were led to God.”

http://cyberhymnal.org

What a wonderful story! I went on to sing the rest of the verses, and my thoughts wove their way through the verses:

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
Why would you love ME?
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
So much pain and humility! My problems are NOTHING!
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
Woo Hoo! Where’s my hanky!
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Yes, this life IS worth living!  Yes, EVERY battle is for HIS glory! Yes, every promise IS true. I praise HIS precious name—the only name worth living and dying for.  The only name that can make the darkest day shine brightly!!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3