Posted in Christian

In Christ We Have Everything

Joy in the Midst of Heartache

By Anonymous Writer

There are moments that split your life cleanly in two. From that moment, there is before, and there is after, and every event in your life is defined by that new time line. For me, it was the night my mom told me that my dad had left. The words “There is someone else…” changed everything, and in that moment, I would have given anything to go back to the time before I heard them. I was blindsided, angry, horrified. My parents had been married for over thirty years; how could this be happening? That my dad had found someone else was inconceivable to me, but there was nothing I could do to change the fact that this was real life now. The life where my dad didn’t love my mom anymore, and our family was broken. Even if restoration was made, we could never go back to not knowing the truth.

Months stretched into a year, and my mom did everything she could to try to save their marriage. She prayed; we all prayed. Even though it was so painful, we were trusting that God was working in the situation, no matter what. My mom extended unconditional love and forgiveness again and again to my dad, but he still chose a different life. They are divorced now, and I don’t really have much of a relationship with my dad anymore. Even thought it’s been over three years since he left, I sometimes can’t believe it’s real. Birthdays, holidays, graduations, a wedding; everything is so different. Every family event is tainted by the incredibly obvious absence of someone who was once a part of everything. The pain carries a weight. Something so tangible that, at times, you can actually feel it pressing on your chest. It wakes you up at night, brings tears to yours eyes in moments that should be nothing but joy, and hurts so bad sometimes that you can hardly breathe.

Over the past three years, I have seen God provide and care for my mom in amazing ways, strengthening her faith, as well as mine, and leaving me no doubt that He is indeed working all things together for good. But the weight… It’s something that I have continued to carry. It’s been a burden that, at times, has held me back from living life to the fullest with the joy of the Lord. I had come to believe it was now a part of me and was something I would always carry.

However, during the past few months, my Bible study group has been studying Hebrews, and God has shown me two verses that have truly changed my mindset and greatly encouraged me.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

~ Hebrews 12:1-2

I’ve read these verses countless times, but this time, they struck me differently. We are to lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us. I’ve always associated the weight and sin in this verse together, as if they were the same, but they are listed separately. The weight can be anything that burdens us or distracts us from Jesus, and not necessarily sin. A very simple concept, I realize, and perhaps not so profound, but reading the verses in this new light gave me clarity that laying aside this weight is what I am supposed to do. And further, the fact that God’s Word is telling me to do it, means it can be done! Again, so simple, but such an encouragement.

As our study continued, I came across another verse in chapter 13 that further strengthened my resolve to start putting this weight aside:

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”                ~ Hebrews 13:6

“What can man do to me?” It’s such a “bring it on” statement. In Christ, we have everything. And no pain in this lifetime will have a lasting impact, be it physical, mental, or emotional. The world can throw its worst at us, but we don’t have to live in disappointment or constant pain because of the way things turned out, because this is not all there is. Our souls are untouchable because of Christ. What a freeing truth!

Some pain we encounter may never fully go away, and there are some situations that never really become “okay” in this lifetime. God knew our fallen, broken world would be full of struggles, and He doesn’t promise us constant happiness or understanding or even resolution. But what does He promise us? His peace. His joy. His continuous strength, guidance, and Presence in our lives. And a future of glory that removes all pain.

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  ~ Psalm 16:11

Tragedy doesn’t have to have a continuous effect on our lives. The burden of pain is not ours to carry, and we are not meant to live in a perpetual state of anxiety, sadness, or regret. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth (Heb. 11:13), and in time, we must shift our focus to Jesus and the joy ahead of us as children of the King. We won’t have a life without struggles or pain, but in the midst of trials we can re-focus, because we know that our present sufferings will be nothing in comparison to the joy that is before us.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. ~ Romans 8:18

Yet, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

~ Romans 8:37

We will certainly encounter times of sorrow, but we cannot build a home and live there. We can’t let those times define us. We can lay aside our burdens and live whole and fulfilled, looking to our precious Christ, Who sets the example. Who endured and overcame for the joy that was set before Him.

O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free:

Turn you eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

~Helen Howarth Lemmel

Posted in Christian

Hope for the Weary

“This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭

Did you wake up today burdened, broken, tired?

Are you already hoping to “just make it through” the day with your do-to list, discouragements and weary soul?

Matthew 11:28, He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Give God your weary soul today. Give God your to-do list. Give God your brokenness.

GIVE GOD YOUR HEART!

“Take your sorrows and trade them for joy.”

You can’t live this life alone. Let God take your burdens.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship

Are you hurting and broken within?Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?

Jesus is calling

Have you come to the end of yourself. Do you thirst for a drink from the well?

Jesus is calling

O come to the altar. The Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes. Come today there’s no reason to wait

Jesus is calling

Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy. From the ashes a new life is born

Jesus is calling

O come to the altar; The Father’s arms are open wide

Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Oh what a savior….Isn’t He wonderful? Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen

Bow down before Him! For He is Lord of all

Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen

Oh what a savior…Isn’t He wonderful?

Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen

Bow down before Him! For He is Lord of all

Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Bear your cross as you wait for the crown

Tell the world of the treasure you found”

Posted in Christian

Our Journey of Faith

A letter from an anonymous writer.

~

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

We all go through trials in this life, Jesus promised us in John 16:33 that we would have difficulties in this world but He also promised us He has overcome the world and has given us peace and although its a struggle in the midst of these trials to trust in God’s plan and stay strong in our faith we can find peace in our savior!

For 4 years my husband and I suffered through infertility it was the hardest thing we have ever gone through and it brought us to our knees.  It was also the time of my life I felt the closest to the Lord when He brought me to a place of desperate need for Him and a desire for Him far beyond my desire for a child.  It was during this time I finally realized that He would be the only thing that would ever completely fulfill my heart. It was a long journey to get to that point and it didn’t come easy.

I will never forget the ups and downs, the hope and heartache every single month, anyone going through infertility knows the pain of this roller coaster far too well. Everywhere you go someone is pregnant, you see cute families, adorable kids, and those babies that seem to stare into your very soul.  The knife in your heart when family or friends tell you they are pregnant or you get yet another baby shower invitation.  And the “helpful” comments people make, among many my all time favorite….. “just relax it will happen”.  While they mean well it is so hard to hear over and over especially coming from people who have never been through infertility.

A year after trying to have a baby and being unsuccessful we underwent fertility tests and were told we would most likely not be able to have a child naturally.  I will never forget what that felt like we sat on the couch together and cried.  We mourned for the baby that would never be, we cried as our hopes of being parents and the dreams of everything we wanted to do with our child was crushed into a million pieces.  The years that followed were a blur of trying everything possible to “fix” the problem, of seeing specialist after specialist, trying a round of IVF and getting no where closer to making our dream come true.  I fell into a pit of darkness, I just couldn’t do it anymore I couldn’t read all these promises of God when in my opinion He didn’t care about my situation so how could they be true? How could I believe He cared when He wasn’t giving me my hearts desire, a desire that lined up with His word?  How could He let my coworker tell me her daughter was going to have her 3rd abortion knowing how desperately I wanted a baby?

The 3 months that followed were the darkest, worst months of my life and I thank God for my amazing husband who stood by me and prayed for me and never gave up on me!  One day God got my attention and I realized I had two choices, go through this with Jesus or without Him either way I was going to go through it.  I decided although I didn’t understand why this was happening I wasn’t going through it without my God!!  I asked Him for a friend who understood what I was going through because I felt like if I didn’t have 1 person who “got it” to talk to I would lose my mind!  God is so merciful and He brought me a friend who was suffering through the same thing and we actually went to the same fertility clinic!  It was so wonderful to have her to talk to and be encouraged in my faith and know she totally understood my pain.

We decided to go forward with more IFV, we didn’t really want to ( the process is awful) but we wanted a baby and were willing to do anything.  We prayed daily that if it wasn’t Gods will He would close the door and He did, the door was shut and closed tight and I was heart broken again.  When we got this news my husband looked at me and said “I think we should adopt.”  It wasn’t the first time he had mentioned it but I just wasn’t ready.  I wanted to be pregnant, to give birth, I wanted that experience and nothing else was the same to me.

That night I was talking to my friend and she said “have you considered adoption?” And I told her that my husband had mentioned it a couple times but I just wasn’t sure I wanted to do it.  She connected me with her friend who had adopted her daughter  a year before and I called her the next day.  I cannot explain what God did in my heart in the next few days but He brought me to a place of knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that THIS was what we were supposed to do, that this whole journey was leading us to this decision!  During those days I gave up my desires to the Lord and surrendered to His desires and His plan for my life and for the first time in years I was at peace.  My husband and I felt like a huge load was lifted off of our shoulders we were finally where we were meant to be.

The adoption story was another season of our journey and although it had its difficult moments, during the 11 months of waiting for our precious gift God drew me to Himself.  I felt a closeness with Him like never before, I heard His voice like never before, I felt His love wash over me with such a powerful force that it made me sob tears of joy, tears of unbelief how can He love me this much?!  I watched Him perform miracles, I saw Him move mountains, I saw His Grace and Mercy pour out over my life, I sat in her room weeks before her birth thanking Him that He never allowed me to get pregnant because THIS was my child and I loved her beyond words.  And then I held her and looked into the face of Gods grace and knew that His plan IS always perfect even though it may not feel like it or look like it to us, even though He may choose a different path for us than we would choose for ourselves His plan is absolutely BEST for our lives!  When I left the hospital with my precious gift from God I was so overwhelmed by His goodness and faithfulness that I prayed and asked Him to please let me share my story of what He had done in our lives with someone who needed it. Two days later we took her to her first doctor appointment and her nurse was a girl from my Bible study, I had never talked to her but I knew she was going through infertility because she had shared it and asked for prayer.  When I saw her I knew it was not an accident she was our nurse, she started asking us questions and God gave us the opportunity to share our story with her and her husband.  They went on to adopt their sweet baby girl!

I am so blessed and humbled that the Lord has allowed me to share our story and it is my hearts deepest desire that He uses our story to encourage others struggling through infertility or maybe another difficultly. He is there….. you are never alone and although you may not understand why it’s happening you can trust Him and lean on Him and believe His words.  “Weeping may last for the night but a shout of JOY comes in the morning” Psalms 30:5.

There is a verse I always clung to and I hope it encourages all the mommies-to-be who read this…. “He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” Psalms 113:9

It’s not “if” you will be a mother but “when”!  Believe that and keep seeking His will one day you will share your journey with your children and tell them about the faithfulness of our God!

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭