“Choose to Endure! Overcoming Discouragement and disappointments in the game of Life”

Is there a recurring problem in your life continually discouraging you?  Is it a relationship? A job?  An inconsolable grief?  Your marriage?  A financial concern? A child? Is it sin you can’t seem to overcome? Are you drowning in the consequences of sin?

Discouragement is a key emotion Satan pulls from his bag of tricks.  I know the feeling of discouragement oh so well.  I grabbed the dangling, tainted carrot as recently as yesterday and found myself flat on my back.

Satan uses discouragement to isolate us from GOD.

A recurring discouragement for me of late is health issues.  I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend and nothing has been done.   I had errands I needed to accomplish but I didn’t feel like getting out….I even turned down a shopping trip with my sister….all because physically I didn’t have the stamina to go the distance. I thought I can at least work on a couple of writing projects….but my eyes were so blurry it hurt to even wear my glasses.  Nothing has been completed as per my expectations; therefore, it didn’t take long for me to get down in the dumps over my health.

So life happens…..it doesn’t go as we plan……and then………disappointment settles in our heart.

This isn’t where we thought we would be at this point in our lives right?

Why did this have to happen and change the course of my life?

The “what ifs and if onlys” bring no comfort as many of us can’t go back and change things…..we are stuck with a new path to navigate.

This perpetual state of discouragement is exactly where Satan wants us to live.

When he keeps us discouraged….he keeps us defeated…..hopeless….almost lonely in our state of misery.  We think no one could possibly understand how we feel….how we hurt….what we face everyday?

Some days it feels like we are just going through the motions….existing in a place where life may go on around us but we’re still stumbling around on the original path where it seems we lost it all.

Life is just plain hard isn’t it?

In all my physical misery yesterday…..I couldn’t focus.  I didn’t feel like doing anything….so nothing got accomplished and I ended up with a bigger to do list…..I ended up discouraged….thinking my health is slipping away from me.

Stealing our focus from GOD is what the Devil works so hard to do in our lives.

He will throw everything in our path until he hits us with the one thing ….that’s going to change it all.

How do we look up…when everything changes?  When we lose the job?  When we lose our health?  When we lose the loved one? When we lose it all?

How do we look up?

How do we keep going?

The bible tells us JESUS was a man of many sorrows….HE experienced our hurts….our fleshly feelings….our disappointments.

In my silly moment of doubt I asked…..how could HE have felt it all?  How could HE understand the utter feeling of deep despair where we feel we are loosing something precious or we’ve already lost it?

I’m ashamed of myself for asking questions like these…but I am so human…and GOD knows this of course.  So once again HE lavished HIS infinite mercy upon the silly child I am…. even with endless questions I have just like a three-year old…HE spoke very clear to me this morning.

When JESUS was hanging on the cross for our sin…HE cried out to GOD….HIS FATHER….

“My GOD, my GOD….why hast thou forsaken me?”   Mark 15:34

I can’t imagine the feeling of being abandoned while dying….can you?

Yet JESUS experienced the ultimate loss.

JESUS was separated from HIS father’s presence…as HE died…hanging by flesh torn hands….in unimaginable agony.

GOD turned HIS back on HIS only son.

JESUS was alone….utterly and completely alone……with all the sins of the world….yours and mine….ravaging HIS body with every drop of redeeming blood….. hitting the ground.

GOD smacked me on the head this morning….you silly child…..JESUS knows exactly how you feel…when your hurting….when you have lost your health….a child…..a job….a home…..a marriage.

HE knows all too well the feeling of loss.

You see the Devil wants us to doubt JESUS….so he sends us the life hurts that diminish our faith and throws us into a spiral of defeat….disappointment…..discouragement.

Satan wants to separate us from JESUS….just like the sins JESUS bore for you and me separated HIM from HIS father.

I now have no doubt……our SAVIOUR truly felt the loss of everything….and I feel comfort from this truth.

It’s in the times we are hurting the most ….we have got to cry out to JESUS….help me JESUS….HELP ME!  I don’t know what to pray or how to pray ……I don’t know what to say…..I don’t know how to go on….I don’t know how to live in this new place I find myself in? HELP ME JESUS, HELP ME PLEASE!!!

I have been so broken before, I didn’t have a clue what to pray or ask GOD to do in my life.

The bible says the HOLY SPIRIT will intercede on our behalf.

“In the same way, the SPIRIT helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the SPIRIT himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”  Romans 8:26

“Inexpressible groanings”……WOW!!  Words that can’t express the pain of HIS heart….that’s how much HE cares.

Friend you may feel distant from GOD because HE allowed a great loss to come into your life.  Don’t let Satan fool you…make you think GOD doesn’t care…or even worse….GOD is mean.

Cry out to GOD and ask HIM to help you put your eyes back on HIM when you stumble into discouragement.

Don’t let Satan keep you defeated…..don’t let him steal your purpose in life…..don’t let him make you bitter and feel distant from GOD. 

Chose to endure your trials…..your grief…..your disappointments….chose to lean on JESUS.

We will never understand in this life why we are dealt the cards we have to play with…..but we have to keep our eyes on the game (GOD’S purpose for our life)….and the game maker (our GOD) ….and in the end….. we will win!

“Behold we count those blessed who endured.  You have heard of the endurance of job and have seen the outcome of the LORD’S dealings, that the LORD is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the LORD has promised to those who love HIM.”  James 1:12

Hang on friend….hang on….

“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5

Cling to the hope of our future with JESUS…. and the promise that he is always with us….even in our sorrows!

Hang on friend…..JOY IS COMING so CHOOSE TO ENDURE!!!!

choose to endure

 

 

 

 

The Merry Life: "A Season To Mourn"

The Merry Life: “A Season To Mourn”: I stood at the graveside of my dear friend’s father today.  I watched the cold air sting her face as the tears clouded…

"Do I Trust You God?" #livelikeWill

The sadness hovering over our community this week has been debilitating to me personally.  The death of Will McKamey has dominated my mind and prayers. This beautiful young man was the type of kid the world needs more of.  Just doesn’t seem fair does it?  It’s just not the natural order of life to loose a young man with so much promise and goodness.

I have wrestled with so many questions this week.  Why things happen…tragedy, heartache, sickness and trials? 

The devil always throws a few more jabs when we’re discouraged……my husband had testing this week  revealing troublesome health issues.  Waiting with my husband in recovery as he slept……. I was miserable in spirit and I just found myself asking GOD….do I really trust you?

These are hard days Lord…..do I really trust you?

This life stinks Lord….do I really trust you?

It’s so hard to pray when discouragement bares down hard and you wrestle with life and death issues.

Getting down in the pit and rolling around in the discouragement is exactly what the enemy wants us to do because it throws us off our game…..focus….. and mission.  I’m sad to say I fell straight into the enemies snare.

I am amazed at the faith of the McKamey family……rejoicing in grief…..because they know where Will is.  I honestly don’t know what I would do in their situation?   I think back to the time my own son collapsed on the track after winning a regional meet.  It was his senior year and he had just won the KIL county championship the previous week.  He was preparing for his fourth visit to state, predicted to win it all in his division.

Doctor’s told us he had swelling on the brain from a bleed.  The swelling caused seizures and unconsciousness.  We were stricken with fear….I was numb.  He was a week away from graduating, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk across stage.  Diagnosed with a weak, leaking vascular angioma in the left frontal lobe of his brain, we were told surgery was too dangerous…..the risk for stroke too great…..and just like that…the scholarships were gone…..the athletic career ended …..it was over for our seventeen year old ambitious son. 

When I heard Will collapsed last Saturday morning, I immediately told my husband.  We stopped and prayed for him right then…..we knew what this family was going through.  My heart just ached for them.  I am still aching although I cannot understand the grief they are now in.  My son couldn’t compete anymore….their son is now in heaven……I can’t really relate to their loss.

How does a family go on in the face of tragedy?

How do we cope in times of hardship and discouragement?

Everywhere I have turned this week I have been reminded of the scripture in Isaiah 40. This precious chapter holds several of my favorite reminders that give me hope and remind me who GOD really is.

In verse 11 it says…….

          Like a shepherd HE will tend HIS flock, in HIS arm HE will gather the lambs…..And
         carry them in HIS bosom;  HE will gently lead the nursing ewes.

HE is our shepherd in all the seasons of life…..and death.   The shepherd keeps us from straying….in our deeds and thoughts.  Sheep are prone to stray, they are easily confused and frightened……. they are totally dependent on the shepherd for protection and guidance.  They listen to their shepherds voice and follow him…..they don’t lead……they follow.

If we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..HE is our good shepherd…..and we can totally be dependent on HIM.  HIS voice won’t lead us astray.

In verse 18 it says………

             To whom then will you liken GOD?  Or what likeness will you compare with HIM?
             
Who in your life has been everything for you?  Man will let you down….even family…spouses….but GOD will never let you down.  Who in your life can compare with GOD?  There is nobody in my life that can restore me….heal me…..replenish me…..comfort me….. only GOD has done these things for me……nobody compares with my GOD.

Verse 26 reminds us that HE is our creator…….

 “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, HE calls them all by name;  Because of the greatness of HIS might and the strength of HIS power, not one of them is missing.”

HE hung the stars, HE calls them all by name, HE knows exactly where each one should be, they don’t go missing.  HE knows and calls us by our name…..HE knit us in our mother’s womb…..we are not invisible to HIM….therefore; HE tends to our needs….our broken hearts….our souls…..HE sees us. 

The scripture goes on to say………

 “HE gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might HE increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly……Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

So here we are LORD…..we are weary.  Weary to the point that we lack might……so we wait for you LORD.  We wait for new strength…..we wait until you take our weariness away.  We need our good shepherd to keep us from going astray in our grief and discouragement…..we need you to call us by name and tend to our hurting hearts.

Who else can we trust?

Who else has been faithful the way our LORD has?

Only HE can be ALL and EVERYTHING to us.

Only HE can give peace to the McKamey family….only HE can give them a portion of healing to sustain them in the days to come…..

Only GOD can be their ALL and EVERYTHING.

No man or earthy thing can comfort them like our GOD can.

I honestly don’t know how people make it without JESUS?  How do they cope?  Who gives them peace and joy in tribulation?

I can’t function without my JESUS…..

We will experience hardship, loss, and pain in this life but the only one who can sustain us is JESUS.

JESUS is the only one we can trust.

Will McKamey’s life is powerful evidence of his trust in JESUS as well…….he knew him……he relied on him……he had felt his healing power before…….and now he is basking in his SAVIOR’S presence.

Tell me friends…….who do you trust?

 #livelikeWill

                               http://www.wate.com/story/19991699/will-mckamey-folo

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Navy-Will-Family-The-McKameys/289915881162967

"Rubbing Your Nose In the Past" He wants you to forgive yourself!

Well….I’m having one of those days where satan is absolutely trying to mess with me.  It actually started yesterday.  You ever feel like you are just so sinful….and unworthy…..and a disappointment to GOD?  Unfortunately I have many times.  I loose my temper…..I think a bad thought….I get stubborn and harden my heart.

 Its hard to lay our sin down sometimes…..but even harder to believe that GOD forgives us the first time we ask….so we keep reminding HIM and asking for forgiveness again and again….when really….if we are truly repentant….HE forgave us the first time we asked.

Anybody out there keep asking GOD to forgive you for something you’ve already confessed?

Satan is the one continually rubbing our nose in our failures……NOT GOD! 

Grace is such a beautiful concept that has always been so hard to graft to my heart.  I think insecurities…..child hood experiences…..even church experiences can have something to do with that as well….after all….Christians are hard on each other.  We want to recall or remember when our sisters or brothers wrong us…..yet we don’t want them to remember our offenses.

Feelings are liars……they make us think things not true….they make us believe the worst sometimes….when GOD has only feelings of love for us…..HE thinks only good for us.

I wish there was some kind of magic filter that I could just install in my psyche that automatically screened out all the feelings and thoughts that cause me to beat myself up….over and over.   “I shouldn’t have reacted that way…..I shouldn’t have said that…..I failed again.”

For instance…..when I felt GOD telling me to start a blog…..about three years ago….I kept telling myself….”Who do you think you are…speaking for GOD?”  Many of my friends know that I am a playwright for church…I even struggle with writing plays that are effective for the kingdom….I don’t feel worthy……up to the task…..clean enough……yet HE fills my head with all these beautiful pictures and stories that translate into characters on paper.

I fought the blog thing for a long time…..until GOD spoke to me and said….“Just share your struggles…..as real as you can.”  Relief is finally what I felt…because I no longer feel the burden of speaking for GOD.

  I am just trying to share my heart…..as real as I can….through words.  

Am I perfect?…..HEAVENS NO!!!  Do I struggle with sin?….ABSOLUTELY!!!!  All I can do is share how GOD takes this stubborn heart and prunes….jars…..grieves…..disciplines…. tenderly to the point of submission…. helping me think the way he wants me to think.

You see…..GOD just doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up over and over because of our failures……and as Christians….HE certainly doesn’t want us to keep beating up our brothers and sisters when they fail us….that’s just a tool of satan.

So when I fall in the ditch that satan has dug for me…..somehow GRACE sends just a bit of light….enough for me to stop….and realize…..GOD’S not rubbing my nose in my failures…..satan is. 

I deal with my stinking thinking and ask GOD to help me think his thoughts.  I recall some of my favorite scripture that encourages me…….

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
                                                                                                                                       Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1John 1:9

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they are red like crimson, they shall become as wool. 
                                                                                                                                        Isaiah 1:18

These are just a few of the many verses I love and write out from time to time just to let the words seep deep into my heart.  I encourage you to get alone and look up every scripture where GOD tells us HE forgives us….over and over. 

One of the tools I use to straighten out my stinking thinking is putting those thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 test.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….if anything is excelling or praiseworthy think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Put every thought of self loathing…..unworthiness……failure…….absolutely every thought that rubs your nose in your past……ask yourself…is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?

Remember GOD doesn’t want us wallering in our past failures….but Satan does!

ALWAYS BE ON GUARD OF SATAN’S TACTICS TO MAKE YOU FEEL LESS! HIS MIND GAMES ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE PITTS OF HELL!!!!

I pray that someone …..somewhere out there in the big “blog o sphere” that totally confounds me…..will get the message….HE loves you….HE forgives you…and HE forgets it……and…

HE wants you to forgive yourself!

 



  

“A Season To Mourn”

I stood at the graveside of my dear friend’s father today.  I watched the cold air sting her face as the tears clouded her eyes.  Oh how my heart hurt for her.   Death….we are never ready for you, yet you come to us all….. eventually.   This season of Joy has been peppered with death.  On December 30th, a sweet girlfriend from high school observed the one year anniversary of the passing of her 23 year old handsome son. A tragic accident on Christmas night claimed the life of another high school friend’s niece.  A precious young mother at our church lost her hero….her daddy. Other dear friends of mine have lost loved ones as well in the last ten days. Such a sad event for such a wonderful season…the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  It will be two years on January 26th, I lost my father unexpectedly.   In the days and months following I became very depressed.  I had to take iron because I became anemic from not eating. I couldn’t write, read, or concentrate.  I didn’t want to do anything but curl up in my bed and sleep. There are so many thoughts runnin through our heads when we lose a loved one. The thoughts are usually flooded with “if’s” and “only’s”.  We recall the last coherent moments and what final words were exchanged. We think about the things that brought joy to our loved one.  We recall funny story after story offering a much needed moment of laughter in the midst of heartache.  Oh if only we could turn back time.  If only we could talk to them just one more time.  If only….if only….and so on it goes  

For months I clung to a verse that literally gave me just enough strength to function daily. 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 
                                                                                                                    Psalms 34:18

 I read this verse over and over, day in and day out.  Some days all I could physically and mentally accomplish was opening my bible to this verse.  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”  I was certainly brokenhearted, so knowing the Lord was close to me, gave me the only comfort I could somehow muster.  I remember thinking how long is it going to take for me to feel normal again?  How long am I going to cry every day or look at his pictures? I became so agitated in my state of malaise, I was literally frustrated because I was still grieving the if’s and only’s months later. 

   I remember thinking what a terrible mourner I was. I specifically remember telling myself  I was lame and I had to snap out of it.  I questioned if I was mourning the right way.  I even talked to my pastor about my inability to pull myself out of the despondent state I was in.  But oh how thankful I am to have Jesus.  Oh how thankful. He was there on those dark days when I was so low at times I couldn’t look up. He was there even though I was so self absorbed I couldn’t focus on him.  I honestly don’t know how people make it through this world without Jesus?  It became ever so clear to me this time of deep mourning was exactly where God had placed me. There was no where I could escape this valley, no way around it….I had to walk straight through.  “Okay God, you have me here in this fragile place with a broken heart…..now what?” I started asking him repeatedly over the course of many months. And sometimes with a bitter tone.  And then I heard him specifically speak to me one morning during my quite time. I’m not sure how you hear from God but when he speaks to my spirit, I know it very well…..because he usually leads me to specific scripture and I can feel his presence heavily in the atmosphere and laying like a ton of bricks on my chest.  I heard his gentle voice speak to my frail spirit.             “It’s okay to cry child, but don’t forget to laugh.  It’s okay to lament, but don’t forget to smile.  It’s okay to withdraw, but make sure you fellowship too. It’s okay to grieve Mel, but don’t stop living in the midst of your grieving.  Don’t stop living in the midst of your grieving. Did you hear me? Don’t stop living in the midst of your grieving.”     It became ever so clear to me though my heart was still so fragile, the Lord wanted me to press on.  To let my faith kick in. To live. Immediately I turned to Ecclesiastes 3, scripture I had read many times but had no real significance to my life until then.  He sent this scripture just at the right time in my grief journey.   “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent, and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  There is something so comforting in this scripture to me.  You see the way I look at it…..every detail of my life…… and your life is orchestrated to the detail.  Everything we go through….the good and the bad……it’s all filtered through his loving fingers.  We are all born into this world with an expiration tag and only the Lord knows when that expiration is up. We are all born into this world with a life to live, a song to sing, a hurt to heal, a laugh to share and a tear or several to shed. We are all born into this world with predestined seasons for our lives. We are all born into this world to live each day to the fullest even if it’s our time to mourn…..to laugh….. to plant……to dance…… to mend…..to be silent…. to love…. and eventually….. to die.  Knowing that he has my days…..and my life events planned out to the detail…. just for Mel Porter…… is mind blowing to me. This gives me incredible comfort because his agenda is so much better than mine.   Even though this old world is hard and we will all eventually experience every season listed in Ecclesiastes 3, our heavenly father gives the good and the bad…..but he never abandons us.  There is a time for everything….. He gives us both spectrum’s of life……the good and the bad…..there is a balance.  Forgiveness for sin…..mercy for disobedience….peace for turmoil….joy for sadness……..grace for unworthiness…..he gives it all….he gives it all with all the love that hung on the cross over two thousand years ago.     Trust in Jesus can be so hard when we are blinded with a broken heart……but trusting Jesus is all we got. My God has reminded me this week as I grieved with my dear sisters and brothers…. trusting him in every life event…every season….in everything….is his perfect will for my life.  In order to glorify him….I must press on and live….I must move on yet grieve….I must find joy among all the tears……I must praise him…in the valley’s….on the mountains….and especially by the gravesides….for these are the seasons of my life…..purposed by my God…..just for me.