Category Archive Trials And Blessings

ByDanielle

Seeing The Light Through It All

It’s been 17 months since my son went to Heaven.

A piece of my heart left my body and went to Heaven with him. I’ve learned so much these last months. I’ve learned the goodness of our great God. I’ve learned to be still and listen and more importantly hear. When Brian first died I was angry, no angry doesn’t cover it. I was livid. I could not understand how God would let this happen. That 1st Sunday back at church we sat in the over flow room and I cried the entire time. In my head I was screaming at God. At one point I stopped crying. I clearly heard God say my Son hung from a tree too. Brian is with my Son. You will always know where he is now. (There were many months I did not know if Brian were alive or not.)

It Is Well

I started hearing God’s voice saying small sweet loving things to me. Friends telling me how Loved I am. Telling me that our God is not a God of confusion, He is a God of Love. I hadn’t opened my Bible in a very long time. I opened my Bible 2 weeks ago, I read the book of John. I see things differently now. My faith is much stronger and I confidently know where my son is. Brian and I had a conversation 8 weeks before he died. I hadn’t talked to him in almost 2 years. (Drugs, alcohol, bad life choices, his choice to not have me in his life) He called me. He was at rock bottom and wanted a new start. He was willing to get himself here and go to a Christian mission to recover. We had a conversation about God. I said to him I know you say that you don’t believe in God, but I really think you are just angry with Him. My boy broke down and said he was so angry at God that this isn’t how his life was supposed to be. We talked everyday, several times a day before he died. My son knew God & knew how loved he is. In his death he has accomplished what he wanted to in life. Brian would give anyone anything they needed, whether he could afford it or not.

My family has some things in Brian’s memory. Our church has been going to the public servants of our town to thank them for all that they do. I was asked if I could help with the police officer luncheon. I have been wanting to find a away to thank them for their kindness on that night they had to come tell us. It blessed me so much to bless them. My youngest daughter walked the suicide awareness walk.

I can listen & hear people. I can listen & hear God. Now don’t get me wrong, God still has to show me things several times before I get it. I get it much sooner nowadays. Now don’t get me wrong, I wish my son was here with me. I don’t want any family to feel this grief, to feel this loss. It is horrific! Mental illness is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about, that no one wants to ask for help.

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Sometimes I think my grief is jealousy. Brian IS in Heaven. I am here on earth.

 

God is good! All the time.

ByEmily

My Thoughts on the Matter

Disclaimer: This will more than likely be my only personal thoughts shared on this matter because I typically like to keep it between me and God. I despise the constant bickering that has become social media and with that being said, I will not be engaging in debates or arguments. I just felt compelled to share my feelings so here I am. I also want to go ahead and inform you that you will not find arguments in support/opposition towards Law Enforcement, Black is Good/White is Bad, White is Good/Black is Bad, or my political viewpoints in this post. If you are trolling, this post is not for you.

For starters, I ask that you don’t jump to conclusions as to what my thoughts are before reading this post, seeing as I am a conservative white woman. This isn’t about I’m right, you’re wrong, vice versa. I do not exclude myself from being a receiver of this post just because I am the one writing it. As the old saying goes, I had to eat it first.

I am not a racist. I believe God looks at the heart, soul, and spirit of a human being, not the outward appearance or skin color. I have met many beautiful people with ugly souls, and I am a firm believer that what’s on the inside is what counts. I have family of all race and nationalities. They aren’t my family by blood or marriage, but by choice. Not only am I speaking about my brothers and sisters in Christ, but also about those I truly count as family, as though they honestly were blood.

In fact, one of the sweetest women in my family is a black woman who was my worship leader until marriage led her to a different area of the state. (GASP!! I belong to a multiracial church!) She has been my friend for many years and we refer to each other as Twin. Believe it or not, people actually get us confused. I refer to another black woman I know and love as Auntie. My kids have never known her as anything else. Then there’s the black man who pastors in a neighboring county and coincidentally shares my last name. My husband affectionately refers to him as his brother, not just in Christ. All 3 of these, and many others not mentioned, call my in-laws Mama and Papa. And these are just the ones in America.

I also have black siblings in Ghana, West Africa. My father-in-law very recently had open heart surgery and my sister in Ghana has not failed to send me a daily message asking how her Papa is doing. Our pastor friend over there calls my mother-in-law Mama Linda and even named one of his daughters after her. Yes, her name is Mama Linda. This doesn’t even begin to include the many others who are white like me, or Mexican, Indian, Native American, etc. that make up my family. I could never mention them all by name.

Anyway, that is not the purpose of my post, just a real glimpse into the background of my heart.


The point is this- I am not in any way, shape, or form surprised by the current events and chaotic state of our nation. It didn’t surprise me this week, last month, or even last year. Why? Yes, there is the whole thing that according to the Bible certain things have to be played out, but that’s not even it. It’s because we are living in a Godless nation. I 100% believe the United States of America has turned her back on God.

What is God? 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. When there is a Godless nation, it becomes a loveless nation. A nation without God and His love can only be filled with evil and hate. It’s as simple as 2+2.

This is the reason why these sad and depressing current events don’t shock me at all. What more could we expect from a broken, ugly, cruel place that has denied the love of Jesus?

Black lives Matter. White lives matter. Police lives matter. Christian lives matter. All lives matter. It’s all overwhelmingly heartbreaking that it has come to this. Apparently if you support one you’re automatically against the other and it’s ridiculous. And as ridiculous as it all is, do you want to know who I am really grieving over? The Church.


Please don’t stand up and applaud yourselves if you feel you fit this category.

I am grieved in my spirit because I am beyond disappointed in The Church. I have prayed this past week and even had to rebuke my own thoughts. I do my best to stay out of the social media circus because all it does is harm instead of help. And you know what I’m seeing? I’m not seeing God’s people shine His light in the midst of all this chaos. I’m seeing what is supposed to be His Church tearing each other apart with their words and actions. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what part of all this we think is going to lead us into heaven.

See, as I scroll through my news-feed and I find I can’t tell my churchgoing friends apart from my non-churchgoing friends, I am grieved and disgusted. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be upset or even mad, but I do know the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry and sin not.

Now, I’m not talking about the “Christians” who are nothing more than modern day Pharisees, Sadducees, and Hypocrites. I expect that from them. I’m talking about us that call ourselves the True Church of the Most High God…you know- the one that is supposed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The one Peter wrote to in 1 Peter 4:8 that is supposed to have fervent love for each other cause it covers a multitude of sins. The one Jesus expected to keep the greatest two commandments in loving God with our all and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Listen, we do not get to pick and choose our neighbors. How can we honestly say we love God when we’re picking which neighbors to stand up for instead of operating in the love of the Father? When the True Church begins to operate in the same hate as the world, we might as well forget about being there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We won’t be going. And that is a shame.

I realize by the world’s standards the things we spew out of our mouths (which is essentially where we stand in our hearts—Luke 6:45) are justified, but we aren’t supposed to be living by the world’s standards. Remember? Or have our hearts lost focus?
If anyone had the right to rant and rave about unjust persecution and the loss of innocent life it was Jesus. And if I remember correctly, His only social outburst during those current events was, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)

Whether they are right or wrong, criminal or innocent, honest or crooked, black or white—God calls us to forgive. Will it be easy? No. But it would certainly go smoother if we fight this battle on our knees in prayer and not with our words and actions.

As I previously stated, I am truly disappointed in what is supposed to be The Church and ashamed to be included in what the world is seeing us represent right now. What I’m witnessing does not in any way reflect the God we’re said to be serving.

It’s time for REAL men and women of God to stand up and stand TOGETHER with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of color, nationality, or background. It’s time we sincerely represent the God who is love and who has called us to serve Him and our neighbor. We must be careful in our claims as The Church. We must search ourselves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing will not be making the cut.

We are called to love in word, deed, actions, reactions, justice, injustice, and at all times. The world may be allowed to decide when love shuts off, but God’s people don’t have a choice- no matter the circumstance or situation. He calls for love and requires forgiveness.

I pray we begin to walk in this before it’s too late.

ByDanielle

Finding Joy In The Ashes: Life Since Losing My Son

Disclaimer: This post includes triggers as it discusses suicide and the loss of a child.

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalms 30:5

Finding Joy In The Ashes

In order to tell you this life altering event in my life I have to go back to 14 months ago….

After 2 years of a very long, life changing estrangement for my oldest child, Brian contacted me. At first he wanted me to know how angry he was that we didn’t have a typical mother/son relationship. He usually never comes out to say what he really means. We were estranged because he was a drug abuser and honestly he told me if I didn’t lie for him he no longer had a mother. I told him to make very sure this is what he wanted. It sadly was. Flash forward to that phone call 14 months ago. Brian hit rock bottom. He wanted help. In those short 8 weeks he and I reconciled our damaged relationship, more importantly he reconciled his relationship with Jesus. We texted everyday for hours, talked on the phone.

Flash forward 50 weeks ago…….(I actually wrote the following about a month or 2 after Brian died.)

My family’s life changed on May 28, 2015. My oldest child, my only son, committed suicide. Brian and I had been estranged for 2 years. 8 weeks before he died he reached out. He wanted help. He’d hit the bottom and wanted to be off drugs, find his joy.

In those 8 weeks before Brian died we talked about everything. The one thing that sticks out for me was the very 1st conversation. We talked about God, about Jesus. I said to him you say you don’t believe in God, but I think maybe you are just mad at Him. Brian started to cry. He cried hard and told me he was so mad at God. His life wasn’t going how he wanted. He told me of how he had been playing bass at church since Easter. We talked about everything in those last 8 weeks. We texted several times each day. I told Brian I loved him every morning and every night. Brian’s last words to me?

I love you Ma.

We were on the East coast for 15 days. We spread Brian’s ashes in the ocean. The ocean brought Brian peace. I also have a small urn that I keep.

That 1st Sunday back in Iowa, back in our church was hard. We sat in the overflow room in hopes no one would see us. I cried through the service. Pastor was preaching about the beatitudes- Happy are those who morn. Friends saw us, they hugged us, they cried with us. I cried every Sunday for several weeks. I couldn’t get past Brian dying. Living in a world where he isn’t here. I didn’t lose my faith. Was I angry at God for “letting this happen”? No. The enemy had Brian. Brian listened to the wrong thing. Brian died.

For the longest time I focused on my grief. How hurt I was. How angry I was that some friends didn’t really reach out to me. I can’t even tell you what I needed, or, what would have helped.

One Sunday I was sitting in the back of our church and I was silently crying, praying, listening. I could only picture Brian hanging. I could only see his hurt, his pain, his anger. I doubted he was in Heaven. God spoke to me and said Danielle, my Son hung on a tree too. Don’t worry about Brian, he is with me and my Son and his pain is gone. You don’t have to worry about where he is anymore.

I was blown away. I cried. And thanked God. In that pain in my heart there was a small flutter of joy. Brian has Glory. He is in Heaven.

I see things differently now. Joy comes in a different way now. There is this ache in my heart that will always be there but every so often I feel joy. And for that little bit of joy I am blessed.

Flash forward to today May, 16, 2016.

In this last year my life has changed so much. Before our son died I was able to reconcile our relationship. We had honest, loving talks. We texted each other several times everyday. I had 2 months with him that were a wonderful gift. We talked about life, God (I believe Brian is in Heaven) he knew Jesus, he is with Jesus now.

The outpouring of love from family, friends & people we didn’t know was overwhelming. We were on the east coast for 2 weeks, our families drew together and helped us. My husband and brother and sister in law took care of all of Brian’s final plans. We opted to not have an obituary put in the paper, mainly because it was $300 to do so & we weren’t even sure how we were paying for Brian’s cremation. Again our family and people we didn’t even know made sure everything was taken care of. It was a very small gathering at Plum Island, about 20 of us, just family. We laid Brian’s ashes in the ocean, a place I know he always found peace.

When we returned home family and friends called me almost daily, friends from church brought us meals & words of encouragement. I’ve made some new friends who are a part of this loss of a child, some very good friends, friends who get it. Along the way this past year I’ve withdrawn myself from a lot of things. Sometimes seeing the constant happy made me sad. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in sorrow. I tried many wrong ways of trying to cope with this grief, I drank almost everyday since Brian died, it took away some of the pain, in turn it scared my living children, so I’ve stopped drinking. I’ve tried pretending everything is just fine, didn’t work. I’ve cried and I’ve remembered happier times with my family. I’ve learned that I’ll never “get over it” as some have said I should. I will always grieve and a spot in my heart will always have an ache for Brian until we see each other in Heaven. I’ve learned that sometimes people are in your life for a time and that’s ok. There are days that I am still paralyzed in grief and there are days that I’m not.

I’ll honor God and Brian’s memory by loving. I’ll miss you Brian, I’ll miss you forever. I love you my dear sweet Buddy.

Since this happened I’ve lost many friends. Some because I have totally withdrawn and others because seeing me and my sad, pain filled eyes makes them think of their own child’s life.

One word.
Joy.

For the last 2 years Joy has been my focus. In joy I find love.

Finding joy after my son died.
Is there still joy? Can I ever feel that joy? I am afraid to feel joy.
Joy hurts right now. I still try to find one thing a day that brings joy.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

ByDanielle

My One Word… A Reflection Of The Last Year

My one word in January 2014 was JOY! How I tried to find the JOY in each day. I did this for about a month. I had every intention of finding the JOY in everyday.

Honestly I did.

I tried.

 

#OneWord 2015 - Danielle - Joy

 

Then Emma got sick. Emma, our last beautiful gift from God, has Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Basically her immune system attacks itself, it attacks her joints. The joints affected start at her jaw and really goes to her toes. It’s in her spine, hands, wrists, hips, tailbone, knees, ankles & toes. When Emma gets “the common cold” or any other illness her body cannot fight it.

In January she got influenza A. We were away when she got sick. I still found the JOY. She didn’t have to be admitted to the hospital. Medicines seemed to be helping. She was doing ok. Emma didn’t really recover from the flu & got strep. Then an ear infection, then a sinus infection, then another ear infection, then another sinus infection, then she got C-Diff. Emma was sick for 6 months.

At the end of May Emma started to feel better. Being sick for so long took its toll on her as well. She was sad. Couldn’t understand why this was happening to her. Her awaking happened about the same time as mine. She went to arthritis camp & had a blast, she was flared up badly and spent quite a bit of time with the nurse.

In July my Dad & Step-mom blessed us with funds to come visit everyone in New Hampshire. It was truly a blessing to go there. I had been really homesick and needed to hug my Mom, Dad, step-mom,sisters & nieces. I just needed my family. We had some great adventures out there both, with family & alone. We went zip lining and by we I mean Sophia & Emma. I sat at a coffee shop having an iced cuppa. We went to the White Mountains and just soaked in God’s beautiful creation. We went to the ocean and again was mystified at its beauty. We saw a wild black bear at my Dad’s house which was amazing! We sat out by the campfire watching the shooting stars & just having amazing conversation. If it makes any sense, I have faith, I love Jesus and believe in Him with all my heart, but at the same time I was lost. I didn’t pray. I didn’t read my Bible. I wasn’t depending on my Creator to heal my child.

I realized in October my JOY was forgotten. All I needed, all I wanted was for my beautiful child to be healthy. I forgot about God. I didn’t pray, I didn’t read my Bible. I didn’t really go to church. People, family, friends would ask how are you? I’d lie and say everything is wonderful. Friends would invite us over or out and we would decline. Emma can’t be around anyone with a runny nose or cough. While all this was going on I withdrew.

I stopped relying on my friends. Depression set in for me. My friends reached out, on more than one occasion. I had shut down. Some of my friends aren’t really my friends anymore. That makes me sad. Sad that they just don’t understand. Emma looks fine, she even acts fine. What no one sees is when we get home she is tired, her body hurts. She will never complain. I’ve learned her cues. I know when something is bothering her.

Emma is sick. Emma. Is. Sick. I claimed that. I didn’t claim Emma is healed by what Christ has already done for her! For 10 months I claimed the wrong thing.

In September Emma started a new medicine. It requires us to go to the hospital 3 hours away once a month. After the 1st 2 treatments Emma was starting to come out of this chronic flare she had been in for 9 months. I realized, JOY! I also realized, as much as I believe in God, as much faith as I have in Jesus I realized I hadn’t fallen at the feet of Jesus. I hadn’t prayed. I hadn’t read my Bible once this year. I was present, but I wasn’t. About 6 weeks ago Emma got sick. Strep. Sinus infection. Bronchitis, belly virus. Trips to the doctor. Trips to Iowa City to see the specialists.

I realized today a few weeks ago at church that I still am not relying of God. Why am I not? At church today a man shared his testimony about the day his daughter was born. She was born by emergency C-section. She was born lifeless and grey. The doctors took her to work on her. He was praying with his wife and clearly heard the Spirit say go lay hands on your daughter and pray with her. He told his wife and she said go, go like he should have been gone 5 minutes ago. He went to the NICU and told the 15 nurses and doctors working on his daughter he needed to pray with his daughter. His prayer? LIFE! In Jesus name LIFE! In that moment his daughter started breathing. Her heart was beating on its own. Her color went from grey to pink. She opened her eyes turned her head and looked at her Dad & smiled. LIFE!

I realized today I can rely on my Christian friends. I can ask my family/friends to pray for my children. I can ask God for anything. He’s been telling me for months- FALL ON ME! I’ve already healed her. You just need to believe and have faith. Go to your church elders and have them lay hands on Emma. Danielle SHE IS HEALED.

I claim this. She. Is. Healed. JOY in everything. Joy in everything. Jesus is my JOY. So for the coming year my word is joy.

JOY!
I’ve got the joy joy joy down in my heart!
Down in my heart!!

ByAngie

A Merry Heart – And A Group Look Link Up!

All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

When I was a teenager, I was already in a nasty battle with depression and anxiety that began in my childhood: The outcome of adolescent hormones and grief along with some unfortunate circumstances. I would become overwhelmed with everything wrong and I just couldn’t seem to get a grip.  My Grandma would ask me what was wrong, and as I began to list everything off she would quip back with scriptures like Proverbs 15:15, Proverbs 17:22, and many others. She would give examples that usually involved Polly Anna or Corrie Ten Boom. But most of all she reminded me of the promise that not only did she love me but so does a sovereign God that is on the throne.

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I’ll be honest, sometimes I hated her encouragement. I wanted to sulk, cry, and vent. I always knew she was right, though. So I dried my tears and reminded myself of all the things she told me and go on with a smile on my face until the next “end of the world teenage crisis” would happen.

A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Just like every other truth that is written in the Bible, the many scriptures about having a merry heart hold a lot of weight. If we don’t choose to be happy, even in the hard times, the negativity and darkness will overwhelm us and eventually lead to bitterness and extreme unhappiness. Without a merry heart, we see only the bad. But when we make that choice to be happy, no matter what, we are able to see the “sunny side” that the character Polly Anna talked so much about. With a merry heart, Corrie Ten Boom’s sister, Betsie, was able to thank God for the fleas that kept the Nazi guards from coming into their sleeping barracks instead of crying about one more problem during a time of extreme torment where evil truly afflicted every part of their days.

Now that I am an adult and have continued this battle with depression and anxiety, I understand more of what my Grandma was saying. I have seen God’s power in my life to know for certain that He is still on the throne. No matter how dark things may get, or how many nights are spent in tears, God is always in control. Even when it seems that there is no hope, I know that there is.

Does this mean that Christians should not seek medical help when things become unbearable? Not at all. By all means, if you need help, please get it. But it does mean that we should not focus on the evil around us. We should focus on the love of God, and rest in knowing that He will bring us through.

With a merry heart, we will strengthen and grow. The scripture is saying that with happiness we thrive. I am living proof. In fact, if I hadn’t chosen joy quite a bit these last few weeks, I would certainly not be smiling today.

Choosing to have a merry heart is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

 

A Look at The Book

Now, time for the link up!

 

Group Look Graphic

 

Our Host, Ren & The Ladies at A Look At The Book
Fellow Co-Host, Bethany at Graceful Country Diva
Fellow Co-Host, Mandy at Women of Worship


ByAngie

Bold And Fearless (And A Group Look Link Up!)

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 

Philippians 1:12-14 NKJV

It doesn’t take much looking around today to know that being a Christian is often frowned upon, no matter where you are in the world. In the United States, we are considered politically incorrect. In other countries, we are treated as criminals. The temptation to be silent and hide is strong. I know, because that is what I did for years until I became fed up. The fear of being looked down on and losing friends was a heavy burden to carry.

Heavy, until I realized what was happening to others on the other side of the world.

In fact, long story short, it was hearing a sermon on something along these lines that brought me to beginning this blog and “coming out of the closet as a Christian”.

Paul faced a ton of adversity when he made the decision to follow Christ. Yet he never let that stop him. He shared Christ with every person he came in contact with. Confidence in the Lord wiped out all fear and gave him boldness.

Bold and Fearless - <a href=Philippians 1:12-14 - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven" width="600" height="480" srcset="http://raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Bold-and-Fearless.jpg 600w, http://raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Bold-and-Fearless-300x240.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

This is not an easy place in time to live in. We fear the loss of jobs, friends, family, and freedom for following Christ. Sadly, many have had to give all of that and more up already. Terrorists and anti-Christian regimes strip our brothers and sisters of their rights, possessions, and loved ones daily in other parts of the world. Yet, they stand firm. They are BOLD and FEARLESS in their proclamation of following Christ.

So why aren’t we?

I want to challenge you. Be bold and fearless. Become confident in God, that no matter what happens, He is in control. Stand firm in your faith and never waver because you are afraid. No matter if the fear is of something small or large. Because in the end, God wins, evil loses, and our reward in Heaven will be worth every bit of grief we face on earth.

If Jesus, Paul, victims of ISIS, and countless others can do it, we can too.

Now, time for the link up!

 

Group Look Graphic

 

Our Host, Ren & The Ladies at A Look At The Book
Fellow Co-Host, Bethany at Graceful Country Diva
Fellow Co-Host, Mandy at Women of Worship

ByEmily

Surrender

I recently realized just how awesome it is to surrender.

It’s such a blissful feeling to know that I do not have to surrender to stress.

I do not have to surrender to worry.

I do not have to surrender to depression.

I do not have to surrender to uncertainty.

I do not have to surrender to anxiety.

I do not have to surrender to pain.

I do not have to surrender to doubt.

I do not have to surrender to fear.

I do not have to surrender to heartache.

I do not have to surrender to anguish.

I do not have to surrender to grief.

Because I have chosen to surrender to God, I can stand on the promises of His word instead.

His word never fails—-it will endure til the end!


Whenever my flesh begins to give in to the old surrender, I quickly begin to counteract with God’s word. Sometimes I’ll go a step further and write some of those promises in my prayer journal when I’m struggling. Instead of focusing on those ugly words like stress and doubt that could easily overwhelm me, I focus on the promises of God’s word. He gave us the ability to use His word as a weapon to defeat the enemy and his bullets of grief, fear, et c.

wpid-2014-08-30-18.08.53.jpg.jpeg

I am thankful that I have surrendered my life to God!

If you have not surrendered to the Lord and want to know how to have the peace of His promises that I’m talking about, please contact us here at Sticky Hands! We’d love to help you find the joy of surrender!

ByJennifer A. Janes

Keys To Waiting Effectively

Keys To Waiting Effectively - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven
These are tough times. My family is struggling, and almost every other family I know is struggling too, in one way or another. I’ve been praying and asking God for relief, for breakthrough, for help, for rescue – and not just for my family, but for all of us.

 

The good news is that prayer and focus on God are drawing me closer to Him and are showing me more about who He is, which reminds me what He is capable of. When I can remember that God is bigger than any situation or circumstance we find ourselves in, I am filled with peace. And peace is a great thing to have when you’re waiting to see God work in the situations that concern you!

 

Two keys to effectively waiting are:

 

  • Pray. Until recently, although I felt called to pray (and I did!), I wasn’t as focused and dedicated as I should have been. I’ve been reading a book about being a prayer warrior that has helped me to understand the importance of prayer and how critical it is to be fervent and faithful. When we all pray together, the impact on the spiritual roots of our problems is even more powerful!
  • Praise. Instead of worrying and fretting about what our families need, we need to spend our time praising God for who He is, what He’s done in our lives, and what He’s going to do. We need to play music that lifts God’s name and our spirits. When my home is filled with praise music, I find myself worrying less and trusting God more. I am filled with hope and faith, which are what God wants me to have instead of fear and anxiety. (It doesn’t mean I’m not concerned, but it means I’m resting and trusting in Him.)

 


I don’t have all the answers. My family has been waiting for answers to some of our prayers for a long time. What I do know is that prayer and praise change things! Even if my situation doesn’t change, my heart changes, and sometimes that’s the bigger answer to the prayer I didn’t pray.

ByJennifer A. Janes

Mamas, We Need Some Perspective

Mamas, We need some perspective

 

A few months ago I shared some tips for slowing down and finding rest. I’m still working on that. Really, I am! The problem is that there are bills to pay, dishes to wash, laundry to clean, kids to take to therapy and dance lessons and church activities and playdates, laundry to fold and put away, meals to prepare, grocery shopping to do, more bills to pay, and lessons to teach!

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and sucked into the dailiness of life, to get caught up in the stress of having too much month at the end of the money, diapers to change, bottoms to wipe, puke to clean up, floors to mop, bathtubs to scrub, and trash to take out.

We need some perspective. We need to focus on the eternal. I have been convicted of that as I watch the news reports of the Arkansas tornado that devastated communities a couple of hours north of us on my younger daughter’s birthday. Foundations are bare. Piles of debris are stacked around what used to be neighborhoods. Families are attending funerals instead of birthday parties. The communities ache. Actually, the whole state is heartbroken. I have prayed for peace and comfort, for strength to rebuild.

And then I was rocked by a mama named April. April has a bare foundation. April’s possessions are in those piles of rubble and strewn across central Arkansas. April is in a hospital room, and she has two funerals to plan. Her boys are gone, and it looks like God planned it that way.

But April has what I don’t have. I would be angry, like the person who shared April’s story. April, on the other hand, while she still has a lot to process, has unshakable faith in her God—that He is good and has a plan, even when she can’t understand it. She rejoices in her children’s freedom from the brokenness of this world and in the fact that she will see them again one day.

I need that kind of faith. I want it. I’m tired of fretting and being anxious about everything. There is something beautiful in complete surrender to the Father and His will, even when it makes no sense to us, even when it’s painful.

To get that faith, to come to complete surrender, we have to keep things in perspective. This world is not our home. God is working behind the scenes, doing things we can’t begin to imagine. And He’s preparing us for eternity.

Mamas, why don’t we give ourselves a gift this Mother’s Day. Let’s give ourselves the gift of perspective. With it, we’ll get a peace we never dreamed possible, even in the darkest of times.

There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. From Philippians 1:27-30 MSG

 

ByEmily

The True Heroes of Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day approaching, I find myself struck (yet again) with the same feelings I’ve been experiencing for several years in a row now. These feelings invoke deep gratitude within me, mixed with a touch of sorrow.

I can’t help but appreciate the beautiful women I consider the true heroes of Mother’s Day— also known as the mothers who have been forced to find the strength to continue living, even though their child’s life has ended.

 

The True Heroes of Mother's Day

 

Be it from miscarriage or born silently, to sickness such as cancer, war, an unforeseen accident, etc.— whatever the circumstance, there are precious women all over the world that have had to endure this heartache.

Each year, we have a Mother’s Day service in our church and honor all the mothers. And each year, I take notice of the many moms in our congregation who have faced the severe grief and pain of losing a child. These women hold their head high with a smile on their face. These women continue on in their everyday lives, operating in the strength only God can provide.

You may be one such woman. If that’s so, please know that I admire you. I admire your ability to carry on. I admire the strength you display. I cannot imagine what you have been through, and in complete honesty, for that I am grateful. All I know is that it cannot be easy. You inspire me to be the best mother I can be, to appreciate the time I have with my sweet daughters and know that every day and every moment is a blessing that is not to be taken lightly. And please know that you are in my heart and prayers.

For all you moms out there— I pray that you would take the time this Mother’s Day (and everyday) to celebrate the job God has entrusted you with and enjoy the day with your children. Embrace the gift you have been given and never, ever take it for granted.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!