“And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
Sooner or later even the most happy-go-lucky, optimistic, joyful person gets beat up by life. During those times it feels like we’ve fallen into raging rapids. One thing happens, then another, then another, we’re bouncing off of rocks, getting our foot caught in back currents and when we come up for air, we can’t believe where we landed! How could we have possibly drifted so far and ended up here? We’re hurt, we’re angry, we feel sorry for ourselves, and we truly grieve the quiet mountaintop life we were seemingly in such a short time ago.
Let’s consider this…what if Romans 8:28 was God’s life raft speeding by to yank us out of the water? What if it worked not just some of the time but ALL of the time… if we truly believed God actually does work ALL things together for our good when we truly love him and trust him to do so? What if?
Would knowing that with certainty cause us to be stronger, to hand over our burdens sooner and without question, would it lift our spirits and attitudes while we were still being swept away down the rapids? I have to believe it would.
In The Promise, Robert J. Morgan writes “Romans 8:28 is all-inclusive, all-powerful, and always available… It can touch any hurt, and redeem any problem… It isn’t a mere platitude but a divine promise...He (God) turns problems inside out, transforming bad things to blessings and converting trials into triumphs. He alone knows how to bring Easters out of Good Fridays.”
If we think about it that way, how can we hesitate to put it in his hands? I mean, think about it; the total physical end of life for Jesus became the beginning of life for us in just a few days time! God designed that historical and life altering outcome but he also designed the quilt of our lives before we were even in the womb! He knows the final outcome of every hurt and every betrayal and he promises to use it for our good! What better hands could we possibly be in!
Only God holds every tear we cry in the palm of his hands and turns them to pearls.
Wow, it has been one of those days where I feel totally inadequate as a mom. I find
myself thinking, “What in the world, God, could You have been thinking when You gave me 4 kids? Did You have any idea that I would be this bad at parenting?”
I can still remember when I brought my first born home. I had absolutely no idea what to do with him. Mothering just didn’t come naturally for me like it did for some of my other friends. They were so good at it. They just instinctively knew what to do. I guess I figured that the same thing would happen for me. When it didn’t, I panicked.
My first hint that things were going to be rough came when I was still in the hospital. Friends told me that they always knew when the nurse was bringing their baby to be fed because they recognized the cry…not me. In fact, when I heard a crying baby coming down the hall, I would start praying, “Oh please, don’t let that be mine.”
When I brought Drew home, my mom stayed with me for a week. When she left, I sat on the sofa and cried. I knew that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I wasn’t cut out to be a mother. Why didn’t he come with a manual? I needed instructions. As I explained all this to God, He remained silent.
I went back to work and things just got harder. I kept begging God for help or for Drew to just miraculously turn into a teenager…how stupid was that?
Now when I look back over those first few months of motherhood, I realize that God wasn’t silent, He was just waiting for me to become teachable; to surrender my ideas on parenting and allow Him to show me how to parent. It took a while, but oh my word how I love being a mother…even on days like today!
I ran across this in the book, When the Handwriting on the Wall is in Brown Crayon by Susan Lenzkes. What a great reminder for us!
but there definitely was not
a packet of instructions
attached to my children
when they arrived.
And none has since
Come through my mailbox.
Lord, show me how
to be a good parent.
Teach me to
correct without crushing,
help without hanging on,
listen without laughing,
surround without smothering,
and love without limit-
the way You love me.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I was recently walking my dogs. Never mind the heart-felt promises of a daughter who said, “Oh I promise I will take care of her she will be my responsibility.” Sound familiar? And to make it worse, we fell for this two times! Which is why I found myself walking dogs (plural).
Anyway, I always walk Ellie first. She is a little 6-pound Yorkie who adores me. When we walk, she does whatever I say and goes wherever I go. Ellie is obedient to a fault. Plus, whenever we take a break on our walks she just sits and looks lovingly at me awaiting my next command with great anticipation. I love walking Ellie.
When we get home then it’s time for me to walk Maybell. They cannot be walked together; Ellie doesn’t like it. Maybell is a rescue, of the mixed variety. Walking Maybell is much more difficult. She is very sweet and loving, but she does not obey. I go one way - she goes another. I slow down, she speeds up, and she is constantly trying to take the lead. Needless to say there are no adoring looks waiting for further commands, just her big goofy “I love you smile”.
I guess you see where this is going. I started thinking about my walk with Christ. Oh, how ideally I would be more like Ellie, constantly waiting and searching for the Lord’s direction for
this day, always being obedient, attentive, excited, and ready to carry out His plan for me. I’m sure if I were more like this His “walk” with me would be much more pleasing to Him. But regrettably, the truth is I’m more like Maybell. I’m usually trying to get my way, ahead of
His plan or instructions, sometimes missing what I’m supposed to do altogether. The Lord, I’m sure, is tired of my big, goofy, clueless smile.
My “walk” with the Lord is some days more like a round- up. So every day I thank God for His gifts of grace and mercy and start my “walk” all over. Some days the leash needs to be hung up and a full-blown harness needs to be put around my unyielding head. Other days, just need to be grace-filled! I’m working on more of these!
So, take your dog for a walk, he/she will love it and it will also give you an opportunity to spend time with Jesus and find out what your directions are for the day.
“But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him.”(1John 2:5)
Obedience…something to strive for!
Have you ever been sick or had an injury that, once completely healed, you find yourself so amazed at how good it feels to feel good? We can actually forget what it is like to feel good because we just naturally adjust to the pain and discomfort.
When I think about this, I am reminded of my youngest son, Sam. When he was little, Sam became dehydrated after having his tonsils removed. The doctor evaluated the situation and determined that he needed to have IV fluids. When the nurse came in with the bag of IV fluids, and Sam realized that a needle would be involved in the process, he informed me that he didn’t really feel that bad anymore and that we could go home. Thank goodness he was so weak or it might have required the entire staff and not just two nurses and me to hold him down. As he whimpered, the fluids slowly flowed into his little body. After a while, his color began to return and his small face began to relax. Gratitude must have been in the IV bag because as the bag emptied, he became more and more grateful. He repeated two things over and over, “I feel so good” and “I’m so glad I have a family”. He loved me. He loved the nurses. He loved the doctor. He loved the very people he had fought so hard against earlier. Why? Because in the end, the doctor was right. He knew what needed to happen in order for Sam to get well. Yes, the IV needle hurt, but it was necessary.
You know, that’s often how we respond to heart healings. We don’t even realize how miserable we really are. We fight what needs to take place in order to heal for various reasons, mostly because we don’t want to experience the discomfort that often comes with the healing process, especially if it involves having to forgive the one who hurt us. However, when the relief of being released from the agony of unhealed wounds floods our souls, we find ourselves overwhelmed with gratitude toward our Father. When peace settles into our hearts, we are overwhelmed with how wonderful it feels to be free of the things that grieved our spirits.
If you find yourself with a wounded heart, allow the Great Physician to examine your heart. Then, allow Him to do what needs to been done in order for healing to take place. If the process makes you want to run, call me. I’ll bring a few nurses with me and we will hold you down ‘til you start to feel better!
Psalm 147:3 says this: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Excerpt from Walking Wounded bible study
I do not like acknowledging my weaknesses. I guess it’s more of a pride thing than anything else. Of course, I don’t like acknowledging that I’m prideful either…but there it is.
Aside from pride, why is it hard to acknowledge our weaknesses? Weaknesses make us feel vulnerable and we don’t like to feel vulnerable. Our weaknesses can keep us from being part of something that requires strength in an area where we do not have strength. They make us feel ashamed, inadequate.
Now when I refer to weaknesses, I’m not talking about shortcomings in areas that I can control. For example, I might want to say that I have a weakness in the area of patience. I’m not always patient, especially when I’m tired or pressed for time. When I say hop, I want people to hop…like right then. I don’t want to say things twice. In fact, I don’t want to have to say things once if I think someone should intuitively know what I want done.
The patience issue is not a weakness; it is my sinful nature. When all is said and done, I choose to be impatient. I can exercise more self-control; sadly, there are just times that I don’t want to.
On the other hand, the weaknesses I’m talking about are the things that I have no control over. They are infirmities; a handicap; limitations to what I am capable of doing intellectually, physically, or socially; a disability.
Not long ago, I found myself trying to console a child who has a learning disability. He posed this question to me, “Why am I not smart? Why do I have to struggle like this?” His heart was hurting and he was so frustrated. I wanted to ask God the same questions.
Why would God want His followers to have weaknesses?
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about one of his weaknesses that caused him great distress. He called his weakness “a thorn in his flesh.” He was completely incapable of changing it. He even asked God to remove it, but He didn’t. In the end, Paul was grateful!
All of us have weaknesses and limitations. You know, I have found that there is great power in recognizing and accepting my limitations; not as handicaps, but more as a means of fully embracing God’s mercy and grace in my life. If His power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), then He doesn’t see my limitations as handicaps but rather as opportunities to show His power; so should I not see them in the same way?
Not only will God use my weaknesses to display His power, He will use them to protect me. My weaknesses keep me humble and free from pride and arrogance. A person's pride will bring about his downfall, but the humble in spirit will gain honor (Proverbs 29:23).
So, while others boast in their strength, I will stand with Paul and boast in my weakness because I know that when in my weakness I become strong, it is the power of Christ that dwells in me.
For those with weaknesses, take comfort in knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for you, that where you are weakest, you are strongest because His power is perfected in your weakness.
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