Life is full of hallways - those times between God's closing doors and opening windows. Find Biblical encouragement for your own season of struggle by visiting the blog, stopping by the shop, or subscribing to our members' page. Let's praise Him in the waiting!
It might have been because we had just had our third miscarrage that the post I read on Facebook caused me so much discomfort.
My friend had just had a baby, and it was cause for much celebration on Facebook. I would never begrudge anyone a new baby post, and I too have celebrated my kids births with joyous Facebook posts. But the words my friend wrote were something like this: “Things were a little touch and go after the birth, and the baby struggled a bit, but God was good and he is doing well now!”
You see, my heart was anchored on to the truth that God is in fact good, but we lost our unborn baby.
When I say God’s Word is life and breath to me, I mean it. I mean it in a physical sense. Countless times I’ve found myself telling others, “I wouldn’t be here without God’s Word.” I honestly don’t know if I could have survived some of the seasons I’ve endured without it.
After extensive testing, I was put on bed rest and began a recovery process that took 2 years and led to major life changes. Today, I still struggle with chronic adrenal fatigue and anemia.
To say those 2 years in recovery were difficult would be an understatement. I went through an identity crisis. All the things I’d been doing before were no longer doable for me and I wondered who I was.
Years ago, a close friend of mine abandoned her faith, her family, and her friends…including me. It hurt deeply that she could so easily cast aside all that she once held dear. I missed her terribly - or, at least, I missed the person she once had been. I prayed daily for for a very long time afterward, hoping that the Lord would draw her back to Himself.
But I have to admit that, over time, I got more lax with how frequently I prayed for her. I don’t know if I finally lost all hope or just got busy, but I found myself only praying for her only occasionally instead of multiple times each day.
Last week, however, I ran across online photos of her current life, and all the frustration and anguish came rushing back. I was heartbroken all over again at her lifestyle choices. I had to wonder if she really was as happy as those photos seemed to indicate. Having an online presence myself, I know how incomplete a handful of social media images is when depicting someone’s life.
I sighed and was about to close my computer tab when I felt the Holy Spirit gently whisper to my aching heart.
“Her story isn’t finished yet,” He reminded me.
How do you feel about submission in marriage? Is it something you think about a lot, or is it a topic you rarely devote any brain cells to?
Honestly, it usually makes me cringe. Not because I don’t think it’s good or Biblical - I definitely trust that if God commanded it, He had a very good reason for doing so. But I see it so misunderstood, so misquoted, and so misused that it makes my head spin.
Just last week, I read yet another blog post on this very topic. But instead of groaning my way through the author’s mis-application of Biblical submission, I had an “a-ha” moment. Because, for the first time, I was finally able to put my finger on something that had escaped me until I read that post.
I’ve long noticed an undercurrent in most of the stuff I read about wives submitting to their husbands, but it was so subtle that I hadn’t ever been able to pinpoint it before. After reading last week’s post, however, I now know exactly what it is that bothers me so deeply when many people try to explain Biblical submission.
And it led me to ask myself a question that every Christian wife must ask herself:
“How do I motivate myself to fall in love with God’s Word? And how to I inspire other believers to do the same?”
These are the questions that have been swirling around in my brain lately. Because I’m realizing a few things:
I don’t wake up with a passion for studying Scripture. Sure, I dutifully sit down most mornings for Bible study, and by the time I’m done, I’ve learned so much and am very grateful that I jumped in even though I didn’t wake up hungering for God’s Word. But how do I motivate myself to desire Bible study before I begin? And how do I encourage others to experience the same?
When I was talking with a friend about this very issue, she gently reminded me, “We need to spur on one another to love and good works.” (Don’t you just love how Scripture answers all of our questions like that? I do!)
So, how do we go about spurring on one another to those good works? After studying for a bit, I’ve found at least 4 ways to do just that.
As I looked over my to-do list Easter Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed. Between preparing something for our church breakfast, ensuring that the spark plugs had church-appropriate attire on, and practicing for the various special music selections, I was pretty frazzled by the time I sat down to listen to the sermon. And since I still had congregational playing at the end of the service, I still didn’t feel much like relaxing.
(For the record, I pretty much failed at my preparations anyway: my breakfast coffee cake was underbaked; D somehow made it to church in a Star Wars t-shirt instead of his tie; and I completely forgot to get the pianist hymnal out of the pulpit before the start of the service.)
As I sat there half-listening and half thinking through the rest of the song service, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart.
Have you ever written out the Gospel in your own words?
I have to admit that, until last week, I hadn’t ever done this exercise. While I’ve written out my testimony before, I’d never even considered jotting down the story of the Good News as I would share it with others.
But my Bible study group challenged me to try this exercise, so I completed the assignment. And oh my, was I amazed by the wealth of spiritual truths I learned during the process!
At first, I wasn’t sure what about that statement bothered me, but I knew immediately that something about it was incorrect.
And then it hit me.
Christianity didn’t start with Jesus’ coming to Earth around 4 BC (the date typically assigned to His birth).
No, Christianity is as old as the Earth itself, founded by God from the very beginning.
The Gospel has been woven through the pages of history, etched on mankind’s heart by a loving Heavenly Father (see Revelation 13:8; Ecclesiastes 3:11). And understanding the Gospel is pivotal to understanding the Easter season and everything it celebrates.
Does the thought of routinely tracking your income and expenses make you cringe?
I’m a little unusual in that I LOVE budgeting, at least most of the time! My dad always posted our family’s monthly budget on the refrigerator (much to my mom’s chagrin) where we could all see at a glance how we were doing. Even though my mom frantically flipped over the budget when company came over so that the whole world wasn’t privy to our spending habits, having that budget front and center taught me the importance of “knowing your flocks and herds” and the value that budgeting brought to our family.
And so, when Jon and I got married, I started keeping a detailed budget. For years, I dutifully kept track of our expenses. Some months were pretty hard, as the outgo quickly outpaced the income, but I always knew right where we stood financially even if the situation wasn’t pretty.
A couple of years ago, however, I got really burned out on budgeting, largely due to the frustration of always struggling to make ends meet. Although I haphazardly budgeted, many months I actually didn’t finish tallying our expenditures.
Eventually, though, I realized that half-hearted budgeting attempts weren’t doing us any favors, so I resumed filling out my spreadsheets every month. But I found some fantastic shortcuts that took most of the pain out of budgeting!
It comes out of the blue. We’ll be merrily floating along, school in a good rhythm, excitement on the horizon, and…BAM. Diabetes rears its ugly head. Most days, it’s barely a blip on the radar (a true testament to God’s goodness, because in those early days just after diagnosis, I wasn’t at all sure things would ever feel “normal” again). Most days, diabetes is just a few blood sugar checks, possibly hunting for a misplaced blood sugar meter, and counting carbs for meals.
But then a virus will hit and send my diabetic spark plug into a tailspin, or his insulin pump will stop working, or things will get wildly out of control for no apparent reason.
And in those hard moments, I’m reminded all over again that God has chosen not to heal. That He’s found more glory in leaving Turbo as he is instead of healing him. That living with diabetes instead of being healed from it is what’s currently best for all of us.
At times, it even feels like God is breaking my heart.