Joy in Our Circumstances (Reblog)

I wrote this several years ago, but it still holds true today. Sometimes God needs to knock me on the side of the head with that 2×4 to get His message across. I know Whose I am and the value He sees in me, but it has taken me a very long time to understand that. In trying to do more and more, I’ve compromised my health. Thank the Lord that He doesn’t give up on me! I am resting in Him now while He shows me that I don’t need to strive so hard to prove my worth. 

Instead of my usual Sunday Praise and Worship post, I’m sharing this again in hopes that God will use it in your lives too.

“Genuine, authentic faith must be definite and free of doubt. Not simply general in character; not a mere belief in the being, goodness, and power of God, but a faith which believes that the things which “he saith, shall come to pass.””
—Necessity of Prayer, E. M. Bounds


But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.
Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
—Job 2:10

Don’t you wonder how Job could say this after everything he went through? Doesn’t it make you shake your head and think, “yeah, right”? How could Job even think to say this after everything—and I do mean everything—was taken away from him?

Job had it all: a loving family, great wealth, a thriving business and good health. He was loved and respected by his family and the community because he was a very general and loving man. He indeed had it all … until suddenly it is all taken away and he is left helpless and hopeless.

Oh, did I say hopeless? Hardly.

“Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” —C. S. Lewis

I know it’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me but rest assured that God has been very much at work in my life. I have been heard to say that I’d like to wipe the year 2010 from my calendar, but as I have reflected on this, I have to say now that’s not really true.

Like many of you, I live with daily chronic pain. Among the several illnesses I endure, my most persistent “thorn in the flesh” is daily migraines. Last year I tried yet another medication I hoped would help but the greatest side effect was to increase the intensity and duration of my migraines plus cause me to sleep for a good portion of the day as well as at night. It wasn’t unusual for me to get 12 hours of sleep during the night and then sleep again for 2-3 hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. I found myself unable to do the simplest tasks and the year went by in a blur of pain.

Without going into too much detail, it turned out that the new medication had caused a host of reactions, the least of which was the increased migraine activity. Once I was completely weaned off this medication, I started feeling almost human again. Living in a haze of pain medications is no picnic!

So many times last year I felt as if I was sliding through what I called wasted days–when all I was capable of doing was sleeping, eating and some light household chores. I spent lots of time talking to God, wondering why this was happening to me and if it would ever end. I thought my days were wasted because I wasn’t doing anything that I deemed valuable, but in reality God was doing a work in me that I finally understand.

Before this time of pain and frustration, I understood how to be joyful in spite of my circumstances. However, I can now see that God has shown me how to be thankful because of those same circumstances. In effect, God increased my faith by allowing me to travel through that tough time in order to bring me to the realization that not all bad things are… bad!

God allows circumstances and situations in our lives that are sometimes very difficult to navigate, and all He wants us to do is trust that He knows what is best for us. It is all about having faith in spite of not seeing or knowing the “why” of it. When we cannot understand the meaning behind our suffering, we immediately want to tell God how angry and frustrated we are. I know, because I’ve been there.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
—Hebrews 11:1

Faith essentially does not make sense to our human way of thinking. I guess that’s why it’s called faith—”a belief that is not based on proof,” according to the dictionary definition.

When we pray in faith, we are saying in effect that we believe God knows what is best for us—in spite of what our circumstances appear to be. We are ultimately acknowledging what we know to be true: God knows all and we do not!

In spite of that, we want to breeze through life without experiencing any kind of pain or disappointment. We think that “if only” this or that wasn’t happening in our lives, everything would be so much easier or better. If only we had more money or more time or better health or a larger home or a different job… and the list goes on. What if the circumstances in our lives—good or bad—are there to make us stronger? What if—bear with me here—we try to change our outlook so that the “bad stuff” doesn’t seem so bad after all?

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
—George Seaton

Beloved, if life on earth was one big picnic would we ever yearn for heaven? Would we truly be able to appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross?

Oh, and our friend Job? In spite of all the horrible things that happened to him, “Job did not sin with his lips.” Obviously Job was not happy that he had lost so much and did not like what God was allowing in his life, but he trusted God even as he was going through that terrible time. Oh, that we could all be as Job and exhibit such trust in our Creator!

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m thinking that life here on earth is meant to grow our faith, to show us how to life joyfully and victoriously because of our circumstances, not merely in spite of them. “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 104:33).

My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
—Psalm 57:7


Perfect Peace

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Ours was quiet and peaceful, something I sorely needed this year because of so many reasons. I didn’t want to leave you all just hanging but I need to take some time to myself this week.

I am in the beginning of trying a new medication that is making me feel horrible right now but apparently that is typical for this—to feel worse before you feel better. I am holding on to the hope that this one will work for me but the painful reality is trying to tell me otherwise as I wait.

Here’s a little something for you as we finish out 2012. I know it is more of a spring theme but Isaiah 26:3 is one of my life verses and the sight of all these gorgeous tulips make me feel peaceful.


Beloved, I pray for all of us to have this “perfect peace,” the kind that can be found in Jesus Christ alone.


No Time to Rest

Today I’d like to talk about physical rest.

I used to be quite the multi-tasker, but then I believe most women are very good at doing more than one thing at a time. It’s the way we’re wired. If we’re not working on at least two things at once, our minds are whirling with thoughts and ideas for what needs doing next. Some nights all those jumbled thoughts keep us from getting to sleep.

Can I get a high five here? Oh, sorry. You probably don’t have a free hand what with having to juggle all those tasks.

I can still remember when I was able to do about five things at the same time and actually wonder what else I could accomplish?

That was then. Fast forward to my “new normal.”

About twelve years ago, after many lab tests and doctors’ visits, I was told that my daily severe all-over pain and mind-numbing fatigue were the result of Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). While I was somewhat relieved to have some kind of a name for what I was going through, my mind refused to believe it. I was only working part-time then—3 days a week for 4 hours a day—but it got to the point where I was spending all  my days off recuperating from working those 4 hours the day before. And I was still a newlywed whose husband was probably wondering what he had gotten into!

Even when I finally quit my job, my mind still refused to wrap itself around the fact that I needed to change my habits. I remember that I quit working around mid-November and then spent the next month sewing Christmas gifts for my friends and family for hours and hours each day. By Christmas I was beyond exhausted and starting to realize I needed to rethink some things.

Easier thought than done.

What is is about resting that many of us have trouble with? Is it because we have never really learned how to rest? Could it be that we need to fill every minute with something because it keeps us from thinking too much? Or maybe we believe we’re worth more if we’re producing some kind of work all the time?

Chalk up that last one for me.

Except for a few years when my children were very young and a sabbatical in 1996, I had worked my whole adult life. When I was forced to stop working in 2000, I felt… worthless. I had always seen myself as proficient, reliable, hard-working—you know, a “can-do” kind of person. Someone everyone could always count on.

And that’s exactly when the Lord showed me that instead of relying on Him, I was relying on my own strength. And guess what? That strength was gone.

Beloved, maybe you see yourself in one or more of these scenarios. It’s okay. You can admit it.

Even though I was in denial for many years about this, I finally get it.  Where before I could easily clean my entire house in a couple of hours, these days my house is never completely clean because I can only do one thing at a time and then I need to rest. I’m talking about sweeping the floor one day and wet mopping it the next (or the next) day, depending on how I’m feeling. Some days the only thing I can accomplish is nuking something for dinner.

And that’s okay!

My hubby is fond of quoting a line from a M*A*S*H episode to help me slow down:

“I do one thing at a time and I do it well.”

Next time we’ll talk about how physical rest goes hand-in-hand with emotional rest. For now, I’d like to remind you of this truth:

Praying for all of you…