The Big Picture

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Faithfulness Matters

Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash

“As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.” Genesis 50:20 (Amplified Bible)

For months I’ve lost track of life mourning the fact that some situations can’t be redeemed this side of heaven.

Some pain can never be reversed can it?

Like the death of loved ones … a way of life … relationships.

I’ve spent days in bed with my bible just trying to get a word from the Lord that would pull me out of this funk.

The enemy has used the pain and my introverted tendencies …  to tempt me in walking away from the church and community in general.

The Devil loves using pain and loss to persuade us that faithfulness doesn’t matter in light of our circumstances.

But the story of Joseph has been a great encouragement these last few months.

This story has it all – betrayal, loss, oppression, dysfunction, jealously, rejection, false accusations and bondage … the list goes on and on.

And every time Joseph was oppressed … falsely accused … rejected … the scripture reminds us that God was with him.

I recently read a story about Andrew Murray who was a beloved pastor and writer in England in the late 1800’s. He suffered from debilitating back pain as a result of an injury. As he was eating breakfast one morning, his maid came to tell him that a woman was downstairs in great distress and was seeking advice or encouragement. Murray handed his maid the piece of paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice that I’m writing down for myself. It may be helpful to her too.”

The paper read:

“In time of trouble, say, ‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’ Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’ Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’ And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’ Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

When I read this story, I realized that Mr. Murray’s advice is the exact model that God used in Joseph’s life … over and over.

Amazingly … Joseph remained faithful in all things … good or bad.

As a result, God used him to save many lives … including the lives of the brothers who hated him … yet Joseph held no bitterness in his heart for his oppressors.

Trusting God with our pain and learning to walk in the fullness of His sovereignty … just like Joseph did … can lead us to our purpose in life … if we remain faithful.

Faithfulness matters … especially when our world has turned upside down.

So, let this truth seep into every crevice of your heart …

You are here by God’s appointment … kept under the shelter of his loving wings … for His instruction to grow … within His timing.

Oh, sweet friend with the broken heart …

God has a purpose for your pain … so trust Him and remain faithful.

And that’s the Big Picture that Joseph so wisely understood.

love mel

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An Uncommon Thanksgiving

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1 thess 5 18

If you were given only one chance to tell God what you are thankful for … what would it be?

Sometimes we can pick and choose our thankfulness … depending on the circumstances, but the Bible tells us to be thankful in ALL things.

It’s difficult to thank God for areas of life that aren’t easy … but it’s in the hard places that we can find an uncommon blessing waiting … if we open our eyes to see.

This thanksgiving I want to thank God for turning my world upside down in 2015. This place thrills and terrifies me all at the same time.

So Lord … here are the uncommon blessings you’ve opened my eyes to see. My how you’ve changed this old girl’s view.”

For the burdens that keep me spiritually alert … teaching me how to pray … and how to trust … Thank you Lord.

For the revelation of truth revealed in your word that challenges yet enlightens me … I am so thankful Lord.

For the peace that leaps with joy on the unknown path … oh the hope that’s growing in my heart. Thank you Lord.

For the surprise breakthrough that hovered over the impossible for too long; yet arrived in the nick of time … increasing my faith. Thank you Lord.

For the tears you collect when heartaches overwhelm and man lets me down, thank you for comforting me Lord.

For the bone breaking truth and conviction you speak into my life … thank you Lord.

For the cares that no longer hold me in bondage … Oh Praise you Lord for freedom.

For the boldness of honesty … and the call to stand … thank you God for filling me with courage.

For the deliverance from man’s greed and envy … Hallelujah for clarity to see oppression.

For the negative judgement and opinions of man … let them rail Lord, because you are for me.  Thank you for being my strong tower Lord.

For healing hurts the enemy tries to use against me … Oh thank you sweet Jesus.

And Lord … because you always give joy to balance the pain … thank you for the sweet places too.

For the spirit of urgency that’s teaching me to number my days … thank you for making me productive.

For the laughter of little children who bring life to weariness … thank you Lord.

For the new kindred souls that dance to the rhythm of my heart, embracing my hand in friendship … how good you are O God.

For the love of words … thank you Lord. Help me to use them for your glory, the rest of my days.

This year …  don’t pick and choose your thankfulness based on your circumstances. I challenge you … find the places that hurt and thank God for “ALL THINGS” He is doing in your life.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18

love mel

 

 

 

 

We have a “GOOD, GOOD, FATHER. Spend some time worshiping HIM for all things.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwXHpKVS5I

 

Do Mondays Get You Down?

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Who doesn’t dread Monday mornings? When the alarm sadistically halts the weekend refuge, dragging oneself out of bed is like trying to separate your toes glued together with super glue.

Sometimes the dread of going back to reality is as debilitating as the actual reality.

Before we even get out of bed….we are defeated.

Sweet friend, I so understand all about the places in life that are not fair.  The workplace drama, the power struggles, greedy and jealous people, health issues, financial deficiencies, the sick child, the loneliness, the prodigal loved ones, difficult relationships, and the staggering grief that won’t subside.

At times we wonder how we will get through the day right? We live in a fallen world; therefore, life just stinks sometimes.

But when our focus is saturated in our situation, we are automatically catapulted into defeat.

Can I encourage you today?

Whatever you are facing that rains down dread like a monsoon….take it to Jesus in a drop to the knees, can’t handle it prayer. Today, ask God to take over your mindset and help you focus on His faithfulness and the good things in your life.

For as much as we think is wrong in our lives, there is good to balance the heartache on….we just have to choose to see the good.

Do you have a home? A family or people who love you? Good health? Are there children in your life to make you smile? Is there a little money in your pocket? What about a beloved pet eager to greet you every day? Do you have a true friend, a praying momma or a caring spouse?

The fact that you woke up breathing is a miracle that God orchestrates every day.  He wants us to acknowledge the good in our lives even when we are walking through the valley. When the focus is on our problems, He can’t grow us to trust Him in the hard seasons.

The creator God who put the stars, sun and moon in place, faithfully oversees His children’s lives, giving us good things; revisiting His previous faithfulness, gives us hope.

Hope my friends…. is what will carry us through the dread of Monday mornings.

Never forget about the good he has given in the midst of your trial.

My challenge for you today…..

1 ~ Ask God to carry the burden of your oppression today…and actually let Him have it. Giving Him the burden means you don’t dwell on it, worry about it or walk around in gloom. Instead you choose faith, believing God will bring you through this trial in his time.

2 ~ Make a list of all the good things in your life and thank the creator for that good.

3 ~ Take each moment…and enjoy the moment for what it is……A beautiful sunset, a brief rest from the noise, a game of catch with the puppy, a 15 minute walk in the evening, an unexpected phone call from a friend, a lazy night at home, a bible story read to a child, prayer time with your family or a friend.  Whatever the gift is for the moment….bask in it and thank God.

Choosing to not focus on the things we dread is a discipline of obedience to God. Life is never going to be perfect even when the house is clean, the bills are paid and the kids behave.

Life is never going to ever arrive at perfection.

Don’t let the dread of facing the hard things in life push you off the slope of hope.

Choose faith and enjoy the moments of perfection God gives in the little blessings that come your way every day. Just focus on Jesus and pour your heart out to him.

When no one understands…..Jesus does.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”     Proverbs 13:12

Hang your hat on hope today friend.

Rape field in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

“When The World Beats You Up”

Today has been one of those messy days of grace for me.

My mindset has been fractured all day….. cracks were exposed in places of faith I previously thought were strong.

My emotions were fragile just enough to let me drift off to the abyss of pessimism.

Hindering oppressive thoughts drained into my soul….taking me back to long ago when I felt no grace.

I thought I was beyond the point of wandering back to the valley.

Somehow I stumbled right into a thicket of obscure dejection. I let man’s actions make me think I was less….unimportant….invisible.

Funny how the enemy knows what days the physical body ails….making it hard for the spiritual consciousness to keep up.

Today I felt as though I was a middle school girl being bullied all over again….bullied by life….bullied by another’s sin.

I am a child of the King…… why do I let the world hamstring my heart at times?
I know better!

How can we be on the spiritual mountain top for months only to be pushed off by the enemy in one short span of time?

There is shame in this weakness for me.

After all…I thought I had passed the faith test….bought the t-shirt…..walking bow legged from so much truth poured into my soul.

How did I let this happen?

I turned off the light way earlier than usual to sleep this melancholy hangover off. Tossing and turning side to side…. trying to get comfortable in my slumber.

I started to pray…..wrestling with words…as well as my comfort…..but I couldn’t find physical comfort…for my spirit was in battle.

Then I clearly hear HIM say…..

“Work it out in words child….tell me exactly what haunts your heart tonight.”

So I turn on the lamp…I reach for my lab top…and tell HIM just what a rotten day I had.

I tell HIM I am mad at myself for listening to the enemy’s lies.

I tell HIM I’m sorry I didn’t filter my mind….I didn’t fall back on the truth.

I tell HIM the pain I feel by hurtful actions and attitudes.

Immediately….I start to feel peace…slowly soaking up the bitter spew of GOD-less thoughts.

I literally can feel strength seeping back into my aching frame.

Truth is pulsating through my spiritual veins again!

I am an overcomer!

Regardless of what emotional lava that has spread over my mind today.

No matter what suppression man may fling my way….

No matter the landmines of doubt the enemy made no attempt to disguise….

HE has reminded me…..

“Greater is HE that is in me….than he that is in the world!”

The Living GOD is in me!

THE LIVING GOD IS IN ME!

And HE will fight my battles!

And soothe my wounds!

The Living God will go before me in all my steps….and tomorrow?

Well tomorrow will be another day…a new day….to take my stand in the truth of HIS faithful righteousness.

A new day to be “HIS” love…..even when I am unloved.

A new day to experience his mercies….for they are new every day.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22

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Don’t let the world consume and beat you up my friend….

Don’t let the enemy exploit the fragile places of your heart.

Remember who you are….and whose you are!

For you are a child of the one true King…..JESUS CHRIST!

And you are an OVERCOMER!

Press on OVERCOMER!

Press on!

“Getting Past Life’s Mistakes”

Do you ever wish there were “do overs” in life?

Like the stupid decisions that led to shame…or pain…or loss?

Or the lost opportunities we couldn’t see the value in when we had the chance to be something different….do something important?

How about the conversations or remarks you wish you could take back?

And the regrets of ungodly actions?

The older I get….the more I think about the “do overs” I wish I had.

If only we had the wisdom and discipline to make all the right choices….our lives would go a lot smoother for sure.

But there is hope….

Even when we make the wrong decision….GOD is there…..

If we trust him.

In Lysa Terkehurst’s new book “The Best Yes,” she shares we can’t let our mistakes make us think our life is ruined or forever soiled.

Lysa says…..

“An error is an unintentional mistake; an end is a termination. When considering the potential outcome of a difficult decision, its important to distinguish the errors from the ends in our thinking.”

 

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Even when we mess up…it’s not an end….it’s a mistake we did not intend to happen.

We CAN recover from poor decisions…if we let GOD have control of the situation.

Yes we may have to face some uncomfortable consequences but GOD doesn’t mark us off as disappointments.

In fact …. here is the kicker…..my favorite quote of the whole book……

“My imperfections will never override GOD’S promises. GOD’S promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on HIS ability to use well.”

I don’t know about you…..but this truth just pierces me deep down and makes me want to cry like a baby.

What comfort it is to know my mess ups will never disqualify me from….

HIS love….

HIS mercy…..

HIS kingdom purposes….

or….

HIS ultimate will for my life.

There is so much anointed wisdom from this new book….and I want to leave you with one more quote from Lysa to think about…….

It’s not the activities or accomplishments we string together that make lives well lived as much as it is the hearts of wisdom we gain and use along the way.”

We are going to mess up on this winding….rocky path of life, but if we will let the mess ups (errors)…teach us wisdom ……we will learn to make wiser decisions in the future.

Friend if you are mourning a poor decision and your stuck in the mire of consequences……

Don’t get discouraged……

Don’t hang your head in shame……

Don’t think your life is in a dead end……

Remember…..you are in the redeeming process…..

And what GOD redeems……

HE always uses for HIS GLORY!

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“We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge. What has “rushing” stolen from you?”

Taken from Chapter 2: The Way of the Best Yes

http://thebestyes.com/

“When Life Brings Unexpected Change”

Aside

Nothing stays the same.

Everything changes in this vacuum of time called life.

The babies grow up, the loved one passes away, the job ends, the divorce becomes final,  the friends come and go.

Resistance is the human reaction we all grapple with.

The seasons of life can bring great joy as well as great pain.

The good changes are easier to deal with, the scary changes with consequences not so easy.

With every change the uncertainty of life as we know it becomes a distance memory and if we’re not careful…..it can cloud or stall our future…..but be cautious because our faith is our future.

Don’t get stuck living in the past…….it can be a miserable place to exist …I know….I’ve wasted too much time living in the past.

GOD allows change for good….even though we don’t like how it comes sometimes.

We may face life events that seem catastrophic or heartbreaking….but if we are abiding in JESUS….HE will work it all for our good.

The fact that HE allows change….regardless of how it comes….. shows HE doesn’t want us to stay as we are….HE knows change can bring us closer to HIM if we will let it.

Its when we resist HIS change that we stumble and stray….getting lost in the foggy circumstances.

We can choose to stay the way we are….. where we are at……or we can embrace the change….and become more.

More like HIM is the change HE wants.

I know many are wrestling with big changes in your lives……but instead of dreading and fearing them….let GOD’S peace rest in your heart.

Take time to grieve or regroup…..but …don’t linger too long in the pain because that’s the place Satan uses to trip us up……the pain can cause us to become bitter, hardened….hopeless.

The bible says there is an appointed time for everything….for every event under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

If change wasn’t part of life there would be no long summer evenings on the porch….we wouldn’t have the splendor of fall to look forward to…..there would be no winter for the earth to rest…and without the rest….the spring wouldn’t bring new life.

The same is true in our spiritual life.

Fervently trusting JESUS will change the shades of our faith, making them more brilliant…..no matter what season…. be it the hurts and the joys…. seasons of change spin abundance from GOD’S heart.

Change hurts…. but somewhere along the path….the evolution of the heart finds a harvest of mercy, healing, joy and new life.

Hold on tight to JESUS… embrace the change….and see what HE does next.

Streams in the wasteland scripture picture

 

Longing for my Daddy

Aside

Nothing good happens after midnight…..

So my daddy told me a million times.  I must confess I tell my kids the same thing even though they’re now adults.

Be sure your sins will find you
out….was another one of his favorites.  He would be proud I actually listened to a few things he taught me.

He was the fun daddy, always willing to do something silly to make us laugh. The first with the quick comeback, the practical joker, and the ever amusing story teller.

He passed away unexpectedly two years ago.

The landscape of our family dynamic just isn’t the same anymore.

His passing left an incredible void in our lives collectively and individually.

His pictures are around us yet they bring little comfort. 

We find ourselves saying…”Oh daddy would have liked that….or daddy would get a kick out of this or that.”

Death leaves a major hole in our hearts.

I’ve realized there is nothing in this world to fill it.

We’ve gone on with life….the family gatherings consisting of many firsts without him. 

Grandchildren graduations.

Marriages.

Birthdays.

Holidays.

The longing in my heart will never go away as long as I live on this earth…..but knowing my daddy is in heaven is comforting to a certain degree.

One day…..after I enter heaven’s gates and run into the arms of my JESUS……

I’m going to have a good laugh with my daddy.  He’s going to tell me how peculiar Noah is…..what a good singer King David is…..and he will probably make fun of Moses’s speech impediment….if he still has one.

I am sure he is spending time with Johnny Cash and perhaps the king of rock and roll, Elvis…if Elvis is there? Surely he is…..a girl can hope can’t she?

One thing for sure….I know my daddy is having a good time…..and I wouldn’t dare bring him back…..because he wouldn’t want to live on this old earth again after living in perfection.

While I cannot wait to see my daddy…..

JESUS is going to be the main attraction folks.

Do you realize when we finally come into HIS presence we will be complete…..and completely fulfilled?

All the longings of earth…..

the heartaches…..

the disappointments…..

the wrongs….

the sickness….

the life altering events…..

the handicaps….

the financial losses…..

the oppression of man……

the deaths……

all the holes in our heart will finally be filled….complete…..perfect.

“He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4

Man …..that’s something to look forward to isn’t it?

My heart swells just thinking about that day…..makes me homesick for my final home.

If this Father’s day has you longing for someone….or something….take heart…this too shall pass away.

One day the longings of this old life will be no more and if we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..our broken hearts will be made complete.

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“Waiting Well” What do we do when GOD Is Silent?

It doesn’t feel good when someone gives us the silent treatment does it? I’ve been guilty of thinking GOD is giving me the silent treatment at times. I have enough faith to pray…..”Why aren’t you moving here GOD? Can’t you see what I’m going through down here LORD?”

I know HE can move and fix my problem in an instant so why doesn’t HE?  Then I seem to go through a cycle where I am up and down. One minute I’m trusting HIM and the next I’m bellyaching cause HE hasn’t moved.

I have failed the “silence during the test” class many times. It seems HE has been trying to teach me to “wait well” for the last few years. I once heard a pastor say, HE will keep putting us through the same lesson until we get it. I’ve been a real flunkie some days.

Then HE showed me the test isn’t just to learn to trust HIM but to learn to focus on HIM.  I’ve realized when I am praying and just sitting here waiting on HIM to answer…I can get pretty discouraged.

In the eighteenth chapter of Luke, JESUS was sharing the parable about the widow who kept taking her case to the judge to avenge her from her adversary.  She was persistent and the judge finally granted her request just because he was over her begging.

The LORD gave me two points to ponder from this scripture…..the first being….don’t give up asking.

JESUS shared HIS teaching of the Judge’s decision…..

 “Hear what the unjust judge said… shall not GOD avenge HIS own elect, which cry day and night unto HIM, though HE bear long with them?  I tell you that HE will avenge them speedily.”  Luke 18:7-8

In other words JESUS was saying….if this unjust judge would agree to avenge the widow….don’t you think a loving, just GOD will avenge you one day?  Give you relief?  Come back around to settle things on your account?

So even if HE is being silent….HE doesn’t want us to stop praying.

But it was the second part of verse eight that really challenged my thinking about what HE wants me to do during the silence.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall HE find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18: 8b

Shall HE find faith on the earth?

Sadly, I don’t think I have been very faithful in my waiting through the years.

Yea, I go to church, I pray a lot, I study my bible everyday.  I fervently love my LORD…..but when I’m in the trenches praying about a problem….I’m not necessarily being faithful because I’m more focused on praying for GOD to come through for me….instead of really focusing on HIM.

There is a difference.

Faithfulness encompasses prayer.

Faithfulness is humbling myself in anticipation should HE say no instead of grumbling about the discomfort I’m in.

Faithfulness is asking the hard questions….GOD is there something you’re trying to show me here? Some sin?

Faithfulness is repenting of the not so obvious…secret….character flaws….keeping me from truly being clean.

Faithfulness is growing spiritually.

If I’m not growing while I am waiting…then I’m just missing an opportunity to know my LORD better.

My associate pastor says…….

“If we are walking with GOD….growth is not an option.”

If I am “waiting well”….I will be growing spiritually.

What I am doing in the waiting period is significant to being faithful.

I confess for many years I have not waited well. My actions didn’t show faithfulness….my words didn’t reveal faithfulness.

GOD may have withheld HIS hand on my behalf but HE never withheld his love, protection, provision or faithfulness to me….yet I withheld everything HE deserved.

GOD’S silence is good for me.

I can’t believe I said it….but it’s true.

GOD’S silence has taught me to evaluate how I am waiting…..

What I need to repent of…..

What I need to submit to…..

How I need to serve HIM regardless of what HE does for me….

And how I should love HIM….regardless the answer.

But here is the key to all this…..if you don’t take anything away….remember this please….

If we don’t seek to know HIM better during the trials….the heartaches….and the silent times…..we will lose hope.

The bible clearly tells us if we seek HIM…..we will find HIM.

If we repent…..HE forgives us.

If we submit…..HE blesses our humbleness.

If we praise….HE dwells with us because HE inhabits our praise.

HE reciprocates our efforts.

Let me say that again….and let it sink in…

Our GOD….will reciprocate any efforts we make to know him better….including…..

Our submission….

Our repentance….

When we go to HIM with the desire to grow in HIM…..

To give him pure praise…..with no strings attached.

HE  responds by granting peace…..

Joy….

Blessing….

 And Hope.

And if HE doesn’t answer the way we want….. we still have an intimate relationship with our precious SAVIOR……. and HE will grant HIS SWEET GRACE to us in order to accept whatever outcome HE deems HIS perfect will to be.

I’ve come to realize…

When I am walking close with GOD….its easier to accept his will and abandon mine.

Don’t just pray for the giver of all things to give you relief or what you need……get to know the giver intimately.

If we seek the giver……we will be found faithful.

lf we’re faithful…we will be “waiting well.”

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“Really GOD? I can’t do that it’s crazy!”

“He’ll never change,” the lady told me.  “I’ve known him for over 20 years, he is what he is.  He will just break your heart,” she added.  “He will always be a drunk,” my loved one said.  I felt defensive, ashamed.  I started keeping the sordid details of my life to myself even amidst the turmoil in my heart.  What had been an exciting, three month courtship now resulted in a young twenty-two year old disillusioned bride.

I fell hard for this man. He was unlike any I had dated before.  Worldly, successful, funny and 15 years my senior. I felt safe with him, and there was no doubt I loved him.  My friends gossiped and marveled I fell for an older man. My family just about disowned me and did their best to intervene, yet something deep inside made me determined to marry him.

We were married 2 months when I found out I was pregnant.  This was the only child we had planned to have. Three months in I realized what appeared to be social drinking was really an alcohol addiction.  Confrontations led to dismal fights which led to declarations of cutting back or doing better.  We existed in a realm of illusory, he knew I wasn’t happy yet he tried. 

The drinking fractured our family time, our relationship, our outlook.  I started thinking about leaving, my adorable toddler gave me strength to insist we deserved better.  Then I found out I was pregnant, again.  I decided to keep trying but I had to have help.

I went to church but it wasn’t the right fit, I was gossip to those who knew me. It was hard getting myself together with a toddler in tow, to show up and make an appearance with a big smile on my face.  I didn’t see other wives hitting the altar because their husbands had issues.  Yet I had this overwhelming feeling I needed to be in church. 

The addiction continued to take its toll on our family.  In a drunken, angry state my husband quit a job providing a six figure income.  In the 80’s, this was a substantial salary.  Within months we found ourselves losing everything.  He agreed to rehab only after he came face to face with financial ruin. Soon he was offered a job in Louisiana.  It was a new start in a new place. 

He went ahead to find us a place to live.  Weeks later I came with our babies.  We were barely settled into our new home when I realized he was drinking again. I was heart broken, hopeless. 

GOD provided a Christian family next door.  I went to church with them, I felt GOD’S presence.  I saw hurting people on the altar, I let my guard down and shared my painful secret.  They prayed and taught me to pray for GOD’S will.  They shared with me it was GOD’S will for my husband to be a born again Christian and to be set free of his addiction.  I had hope.

We were in Louisiana just less than a year when the job was over.  The owner was selling out.  We were going back to Tennessee.   I was considering going my separate way when we returned home.  It would be an easy transition during the move. In the process of packing, I found out I was pregnant with our third child.  Yea….GOD has a sense of humor. I stayed.

The struggle continued to be heart wrenching, the finances were tight.  My first born was pretty sharp and soon picked up on daddy coming home drunk.  Thank GOD he wasn’t a mean drunk but a sloppy, affectionate, sentimental drunk. My feeble heart literally ached because my child could see the difference in a drunk daddy.

I remember crying out to GOD…..”I don’t know what to do, you have got to help me GOD.”  Our third baby was born and amazingly GOD led me to a new friend named Debby.  A vivacious, GOD fearing, spit fire full of faith.  What a friend.  She led me to a church with a pastor named Jerry.  An evangelistic, friendly, soul winner man of GOD. What a pastor. Jerry shepherded a loving, non-judging church family with real problems too. What a church. 

I started praying one night a week with Debby and another friend.  I learned to pray specific, I remembered the precious family from Louisiana who taught me it was GOD’S will for all to find salvation.  I believed and claimed this promise for my husband.  

We prayed it would rain on Sunday’s so he couldn’t golf and maybe go to church with me.  We prayed he would get hangovers….something he never did.  We prayed GOD would wrap his spirit so tight around my husband’s heart he would suffocate in conviction.  It rained 6 weeks in a roll and he attended church some.  He started puking his guts out after he drank and I so enjoyed listening to his gut wrenching bathroom sessions. I specifically remember thanking GOD for hangovers.

One night he sat down and watched a Billy Graham crusade on television.  I sat next to him on the couch as tears streamed down his face and he wiped them with his hand.  For 7 months, we prayed, we prayed specific, we prayed expectantly, we prayed in faith. 

Three days after we watched the crusade on television he was in his favorite local pub with all his golf buddies. It was a Sunday evening and my babies were loaded in their car seats as we headed to church.  The pub was on the way….GOD spoke clearly and said….”Stop and send Matthew in.”

“Send my baby in a bar Lord?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from GOD.  I literally sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes wrestling with whether to send my three and a half year old into a bar. Finally with a heavy heart, I stood at the door as my baby went in and asked his daddy to go to church with us. 

We settled into our seats near the front, liquor on his breath.  He wasn’t drunk but he had knocked down a few.  I remember thinking, I hope no one smells the alcohol on his breath.  The pastor brought a powerful salvation message directed at my husband.  I knew he was under conviction when the invitation started.  I looked at his knuckles white from griping the pew so tight.

The pastor offered one more verse, I was about to give up.  Then all of a sudden he turned to me and said, “I’ve got to go Mel, he’s calling me.”  He shot out into the aisle and hit the altar.  The pastor went and counseled him.  I waited and prayed but made it to the altar just in time to hear him pray the sinner’s prayer.

I remember my husband holding me on the altar after he asked Christ into his heart.  I remember the taste of my salty tears as we embraced each other for what seemed like forever.  I cried into his chest, he cried on my shoulder.  The entire church was rejoicing and praising GOD.  

GOD was so faithful to my family that precious night.  I relive it often.  He has brought us so far, replenished us financially, restored relationships, restored hope.  What the devil took….GOD replaced.

We will be married 30 years in January 2015.  He has been sober since giving his heart to JESUS on March 17th, 1990.  What rehab and a devoted, young bride’s love couldn’t do…GOD did. 

I have often thought about what would have happened had I not sent my innocent little boy into the pub that night? Crazy isn’t it?  GOD told me to send my baby into a bar?  I still scratch my head about doing so and I have never shared this detail of our story till now. 

We’ve read countless stories of GOD telling our bible heroes to do crazy things haven’t we?  So it stands to reason….why would he not tell us to do crazy things too?  Remember the leper, Naaman? Elisha told him through a servant, go wash in the muddy Jordan seven times and you will be clean. Naaman was angry Elisha did not come out to meet him and call on the Lord. He questioned the choice of waters stating there were cleaner rivers around. He went away in rage. If not for his servants convincing him to go to the Jordan and obey Elisha’s directives, Naaman would not have been healed. (2 Kings 5)

Its a beautiful story of stubborn obedience, similar to mine. I have learned through my 49 plus years, GOD’S ways are certainly not my ways. (Isaiah 55:8) He doesn’t do things the way my flawed mindset would do them.

If I had been the one who went into the pub that spring night in 1990, I don’t know if my husband would have responded with a yes. It probably would have angered him I showed up….especially in front of his buddies. The little wife had come to fetch her husband could have been his embarrassment….but seeing those sweet, little, expressive eyes with arms reaching up…speaking a tender, innocent plea…. I believe GOD used our baby to move my husband.

This reminds me of the scripture in Corinthians….

“But GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and GOD has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27

We don’t have a clue what GOD wants to use in our lives to bring him glory. Our ways are not HIS ways and HIS infinite wisdom will never be matched. It could be foolish things, the weak, it could be sickness, an addiction, a baby in a bar….but whatever he chooses to use…. we have got to be willing to do the things not making sense…. the crazy things…. if he asks us to.
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“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