Coffee Talk 2015: Week 5 {Hurt Feelings} Part 2

(You can read Part 1 here.)

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
What Difference Does It Make What He Intended?
Hurt Feelings Part 2
Christie Ballewske

coffee talk online edition pictureSometimes people hurt us unintentionally. Martha properly places blame on the one who got caught in the crossfire. With myself front and center, I will agree with Martha, we are far too sensitive and self absorbed. We need to be actively overlooking these hurts and lovingly assuming the best of others.

For the intentional hurts of others, it is their sin, yet we are responsible to overcome those hurts biblically. Here are the eight practical ways Martha offers as a biblical solution to overcome the intentional hurts of others.

  • Show love to God and the person sinning against you. We accomplish this by obeying God’s word. Ask yourself “How does God want me to respond?”
  • Thank God for the test. We need to look at everything from an eternal perspective and ask, “What does he want me to learn from this?”
  • Overcome evil with good. Resist the natural tendency to fight evil with evil.
  • Give a blessing instead.
  • Pray for those who mistreat you. (I thought, “Do hard things”, when I read those three!)
  • Speak the truth in love. Don’t feel the need to respond right away as we might be caught off guard and often in such times, we speak for sinful gain.
  • Lovingly confront the person who has sinned against you. Ask yourself, “how would you like to be confronted about it?”
  • Bring other witnesses into the situation if necessary.

When we see our own offense in it’s true light, only then can we see the gospel in it’s true light. The true light of the gospel is so illuminating that we can’t help but forgive, because we have been forgiven of much! When we remember that and then seek to love God and love others, we are responding righteously and we can be properly restored to a brother/sister.

Earlier in the chapter she says it nicely, “Our Lord endured much suffering due to the intentional hurts of others.” We also participate to a tiny degree in the “fellowship of His sufferings” when by His grace we respond righteously. Jesus not only suffered far worse than us, but did it for us. He did it perfectly. He was rejected, betrayed, defiled and humiliated by his bride. Since He was human and knows our sufferings, He is patient as He empathizes with us. He is also God, therefore, empowering us like no therapist in this world can, to overcome hurt, even the deepest of hurts. Praise be to God.

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you have an “unforgivable”? Do you believe you have a “right” to that?
  2. Thinking of your deepest hurt, have you responded righteously, or do you believe it’s the exception?
  3. What does it mean to “fellowship in His suffering”? Make it personal.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 5 {Hurt Feelings} Part 1

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
What Difference Does It Make What He Intended?
Hurt Feelings
Christie Ballewske

coffee talk online edition pictureWe can all agree that there are some offenses that are trivial, but we’ve all had that one hurt that resurfaces like vomit. All it takes is a weak moment in our thought lives to be utterly defeated by it. Martha wisely states:

“Feelings are emotions, and emotions occur after we think something.”

So essentially, we “choose” hurt feelings. Like a magnet, our minds will grip a hurt for as long as we allow it. Especially if we believed our hurt is “justified.” Offenses like betrayal, rejection, deceit, and violation are thought to be unforgivable. The world says we have a “right” to those hurt feelings. Can I gently say, we are not of this world! It is Jesus Christ who is sin bearer, so Sisters, what right do we have to unforgiveness? The grip our mind has on our hurts is great because we have forgotten or loosely remember the gospel.

Everyone has hurts that are not so easily overlooked or forgiven. Listen to the response Jesus gave Simon in Luke 7:47:

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

The “justified hurts” are now dissolved as we see we don’t have a leg to stand on.  When God is faithful to bring us out of an infant stage faith and into maturity, we will begin to see ourselves as the women “whose sins were many.”  As believers, to the degree we understand the gospel, we must conclude that we have no option of reserving any offense to be “unforgiven” and even in limiting our length of love to the offender, we only paint a shallow picture of God’s deep love to His people.

Here’s how I see it when I look through the eyes of the gospel… I remember the moment I stood in front of this church, many of you were there. I took an oath before God. In tears, I vowed to be faithful and true to Him. Then the symbol of that covenant was witnessed as I was immersed into the water. Seemingly, as soon as I dried off, the marriage walk began, and I started to forget how satisfying Jesus was. At times I found myself estranged from my true love as I’d begin seeking comfort in the arms of another. Before long, and without premeditation, I’d find myself in bed with the world. After the first offense, I felt a bit of shame, but like a dog to his vomit, I returned. I cheated on Jesus.

Martha points outs Israel had a lustful eye for anything but God who made them, favored them, and faithfully and lovingly provided for them. They rejected Him. We, like Israel, have committed spiritual adultery. Though we all are victims of hurt, with more confidence, we should boldly proclaim that we are the unfaithful ones. Jesus bought us with his blood. This purchase is nothing short of inflation! The price paid for our ransom continues to hold greater value as our worth continues to fall short and we,  the product, only cheapened with time. We’ve turned a blind eye to Jesus’ sacrifice and tripped over his broken body beneath us, all to embrace our cheap lovers time after time. We are the woman whose sins are many, yet Jesus turns to us, stands in the direct line of fire, and declares, “your sins are forgiven.”

We should never cease to kiss His feet.

Ladies, the point Martha makes is that the offense is ours!  Any hurt we’ve ever experienced is at best, second, next to the rejection of God by his people. Truly, pain is good for God’s children as it helps us understand the pain that we have heaped on Jesus and the grace and forgiveness he has lavished, in return, on us.

(Read part 2 on Thursday to discover the biblical solution to hurt feelings.)

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 4 {Idolatrous Emotional Attachments}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
What Do You Mean I Can Live without Him?
Idolatrous Emotional Attachments
Gaila Roper

coffee talk online edition pictureJenny looked excitedly at her most recent text. It was from Tom, who was her high school sweetheart for two years.  This Saturday was their secret Senior Prom rendezvous she carefully disguised as a date–then a sleepover with Patty her best friend.  In reality, it was to be a special night celebrating their two year relationship at a downtown motel!   Jenny was a church kid with godly parents. She was attracted to Tom, captain of the football team and kind of a bad boy, who ridiculed her faith.  Jenny put up with him because he made her feel special.  Like that time Tom confided to her that nobody understood him or was as patient with him in his insecurities and bad temper.  He said she was good for him and she rationalized that he was well worth the ‘missionary dating’ thing.  My parents will come around to the idea of me and Tom when they see how much we love each other.

Jenny didn’t foresee that her mom and Patty’s mom were also best buds. Jenny’s mom called up Patty’s mom and asked if she could send over some snacks for the girls after their special prom event.  After their phone conversation, Jenny’s mom and dad were shocked that their daughter had deceived them. They prayed together about confronting her. “How could this happen? We’re a Christian home and these kids are in the same youth group!”

After supper they confronted Jenny and everything spiraled down into threats. “You don’t trust me.  We love each other.  He needs me.  I’ve been sharing Christ with him.  Don’t you care about that?   If you ground me or forbid me to see Tom, we will run away. Can you deal with that?”

Her parents, heartbroken and shell shocked, simply said, “honey, we’re deeply hurt that you’ve deceived us for some time.   We’re all too upset emotionally tonight to address this.  Just know that we love you, and we’re going to trust God to help us deal with this in a God honoring way. We’ve called our church elders, and they’re willing to come over tomorrow.  Are you willing to show up?”

Martha Peace opens the chapter with several illustrations as to what an idolatrous emotional attachment looks like. In a similar scenario above, “There is an idolatrous emotional bond that involves inordinate longings and sinful desires to be with the person even if it is obviously wrong.” (page 46)  Inordinate means excessive, or unrestrained according to the dictionary.  Her strong emotional desires have been habitually developed by a belief that what she wants is worth more than honoring God. Jenny knows Tom is an unbeliever. She believes the lie that she cannot live without Tom.

What would be the biblical response to these ungodly desires and beliefs? Encourage Jenny to respond to God based on the objective truth of His Word rather than to how she feels.  Wanting a relationship is a good thing.  Witnessing to Tom is good.  But her intentions and desires of her heart were revealed by how far she was willing to sin, rather than her obedience. She wanted Tom’s acceptance and good feelings more.  There are many layers of unbiblical beliefs in Jenny’s young life. Perhaps she should examine her heart to see if she’s in the faith?

It would be a good thing if her parents could receive some counsel to address this as well as the emotional bondage. Because Jenny is still living in her parents care, all members of the family would benefit from a small accountability group which may consist of a pastor, elders, and a biblical counselor.  Wrong thinking could be addressed and corrected such as, “I don’t want to be alone”, or “I can’t live without him”, or “it’s ok to lie”, etc.  By putting these off, we see Christ is sufficient and promises to never leave us. (Heb.13:5)  She’s also in emotional bondage to sexual sin.  Believers are taught to flee immorality. (1 Cor.6:18-20)  By submitting to this accountability, it will have a humbling and discipling effect, with the promise from God that He gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Are there other ways to engage in an idolatrous emotional bond?

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 3 {Manipulation}

Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
I’m Supposed to Respond How?
Manipulation

By Christie Ballewske

coffee talk online edition pictureSkimming it over, my first reaction to this chapter was, “I can totally write about this, because I used to be the Queen of manipulation! I saw this as a “past habit,” not a regular offense. The more accurate account started to dawn on my horizon when I read Martha’s words,

“You know you are guilty of sinful manipulation when you don’t graciously take ‘no’ for an answer…”

I was paging through the chapters while having a mutual conversation with my husband one night before bed. I heard my own voice echo as I exclaimed in much laughter, “Pfft, I don’t resort to manipulation anymore! Right?” Suddenly, what began as a mutual conversation, was now just my lonely, foolish voice. First, an awkward moment of silence. Then my husband, gently spoke, “do you know how hard it is to say ‘no’ to you?” Oh! Its high noon and the truth has never been more clear.

I just thought that meant I was cute! I think I honestly believed that when the transfer of headship took place that I had left the “art” of manipulation at home with all of my teddy bears. The truth is that rarely does my husband ever tell me “no.” I’d like to think that it’s because I don’t ask for much and I am a reasonable gal. We all know that is a whopper!

One clarifying truth is that my husband is kindhearted! Like the Lord, he enjoys giving me good things and truly seeks to say “yes” as often as he is able, and because of this,  I have a hard time marking more than a few times he has ever told me “no”. However sweet this is, I must face an awful truth.

When I read the list of “manipulating ploys,” I was shocked that she’d consider some of them “manipulation” while others, well, let’s just say Dan could hang his hat on my cold shoulders! The ones I found puzzling were “sweet talk” and “tears.” I never considered that tears were anything but natural and acceptable, and, frankly, if I were sweet talking, he was still free to say no!

As much as I’d like to stake claim to a quality of cuteness and sensitivity uncommon to women, I must recognize that my tears are at times evidence of a lack of self-control. My tears, sincere as they be, are nonetheless a spell that is often cast when I am unable to accept “no” for an answer. THIS is why my husband finds it difficult to say “no,” NOT my rare cuteness! Rather, I put a spell on him.  So after reading this chapter, I have walked away with several conclusions but more importantly, a biblical solution.

My first conclusion for me personally, is that manipulation is at times unintentional but nonetheless, still manipulative. I’ve also considered that in many cases for me, manipulation can be determined by the effect it has on the my husband. Since he is so sensitive to my feelings and responds so generously to my emotions, I need to be careful when and how I choose to reveal them to him.

Lastly, the Lord desires that women have gentle and quiet spirits. A woman of gentle and quiet spirit is willing to enter the storm of her husband’s “no” and actively seeks to let the spirit alone sway his opinions. She does everything in her power to keep her husband sober of her spells, and reserves her “appeals” for the important stuff, and even then, her countenance shows a trust in God that HE never fails, nor disappoints. We must acknowledge that often, especially if from a husband, the word “no” is a word from God. So let’s, like Martha counseled, honor God graciously by accepting His will for your life in that moment when you hear the word “no” for an answer.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways has God used another person to reveal His momentary will for you?
  2. Tell me of a time when you did not graciously accept “no” for an answer?
  3. What type of manipulation did you resort to? Did you regret that later? Why? Why not?

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 2 {Gossip & Slander}

Damsels in Distress, Chapter 2
Biblical Solutions for Problems with Others
Well, Isn’t It OK If My Mother Told Me?
Gossip and Slander

coffee talk online edition pictureSue was excited about attending the annual Woman’s Spring Luncheon at church.  As she settled down with her food at the table with girlfriends, she noticed that Sally, a sweet elderly lady, was seated across from her and chatting away as usual.  In the midst of all the various conversations, Sally’s tone changed into ‘dumping mode’ as usual. Systematically shredding her downstairs neighbor’s character, Sally continued to criticize her housekeeping to child rearing skills, or lack of them. “Sally”, I said, “could you please stop for a second? We don’t know this woman, but you do, and God has placed her in your life. We are not part of the problem, therefore, not a part of the solution. We all do not need to hear this.  Have you tried to befriend her, invite her over, or shared the gospel with her?” Great. Dead silence.  Then she started up again, stating that this was for prayer.  “No, that is not a prayer, Sally. If you care for her, reach out, pray, and trust God.”  Women were actually relieved to move on.  And we did. We all tolerated this for many years.

What Sally was sharing was probably true.  A biblical response in Sally’s mind could have been, “all this chaotic stuff about my neighbor is true, but that doesn’t give me the right to give a bad report about her, especially disguised as prayer! I’d better be careful about what I share here. Maybe asking them to pray for me to share the gospel and befriend my new neighbor would be more God honoring.”  (Phil. 4:8)

Have you ever been a Sally, or a Sue, or in a group where this has happened? I sure have.  One time many years ago, I was so angry at a family member for hurting me that I dumped private information onto six or so persons and then had to call each and every one back to ask for forgiveness!  Then I had to humble myself and ask the ‘person’ who hurt me, to forgive me! My anger and emotions overrode my love and obedience to Christ.  My biblical response should have been, “even though that relative was unrepentant, I am going to show love to them by not continuing to ‘take into account a wrong suffered’ and not replaying the sordid details over and over in my mind and out loud. (1 Cor 13:5) (page 42).

So how do I lovingly shut a person down or even myself when obviously going down the road to slander?  You could use the example given above and recognize that sinful thoughts begin in our hearts. “The Bible does not command us to change our feelings; it commands us to renew our minds (Rom.12:2). We do this by simply studying, meditating on, and memorizing the Bible, as well as by hearing it preached. Then when we realize that our thoughts and (gossiping and slanderous) speech are wrong, we are responsible to change our thoughts and speech. This is what Paul calls “lay(ing) aside the old self…” and “put(ting) on the new self” (see Eph 4:22-24). We don’t have to live by our habits.  It says in James 4:6 that ‘He gives a greater grace…’.(page 43)

Martha states that the Greek word for gossip is diabolis. We get our English word devil from it; It means to accuse or give false information.  Slander is blasphema, and connotes evil speaking or vilification (to malign or disparage).   Our speech is the fruit of our heart.  It reveals our thoughts, intents, wants and beliefs (Mark 7:20-23).  Do I speak truth in my heart and take care not to slander, secretly before the face of God or openly before men? (Psalm 15). Let the words of Phil 4:8 and 1 Cor 10:31 be your grid for truth in your heart as you put off and then put on God honoring speech for His glory.

Have you, like me, been guilty of gossip and slander? If so, repent, and thank God for His forgiveness. Go back and humbly make it right. Are you willing to go back to the person(s) you offended and ask for forgiveness in what you had no right to share?   Have you been a victim of gossip? Try to gain their good will, if possible, by approaching them kindly and graciously with the truth (Rom 12:18, 1 Cor 4:13). Did you rather tell your mother or girlfriends or rant on Facebook that you were offended? What should be your biblical response?  So what will you do in your mind renewal process to put off evil speech?  You can change you know.  Work hard at putting off sin and putting on Christ.  The focus has to be Him.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 1 {Introduction}

Coffee Talk: Online Edition
Damsels in Distress by Martha Peace
Chapter 1

coffee talk online edition pictureI was first introduced to Martha Peace at a Women’s Conference in 2001.  As she gave her testimony, she shared what her life was like before she came to Christ. Martha was a young, independent, professional woman who was pretty much living life for herself and indulging in the pleasures the world had to offer her. She was unhappy, full of anxiety, and her marriage was headed for divorce court.

But God had other plans for her.  He put Katrina, a faithful, Christian coworker in her life who incessantly prayed for her and witnessed to her for over a year until one day God opened Martha’s heart to the Gospel and her need for Him.

Martha states in the opening paragraph of the book, “Shortly before I became a Christian, I had so many problems that it would have been difficult to name them all. Afterward, I realized that my biggest problem had been solved because God had cleansed me from and forgiven me for my sin. It would be wonderful to report that from then on I had no problems. However, that’s not true. Fortunately for me, God provided resources to help me either solve or cope with those problems. The resources were being a Christian, the Scriptures, learning about the character of God, and my friend Katrina.”

God has given Martha a desire and heart to disciple and counsel women and her favorite place to do that is around her kitchen table with her Bible and cup of coffee in hand. In this book, Martha wants to share with us what she hears around her kitchen table. These are all problems common to women. But she doesn’t stop there; she wants to encourage us that we aren’t without hope as there is a biblical solution and application for every problem we face.

You will be hearing from Gaila, Brittany, Christie and myself; four women in different seasons of life. We will share with you problems common to women and the biblical solutions God has provided for all of us. Some of these problems concern others such as gossip, manipulation, and hurt feelings; other problems concern ourselves such as vanity, PMS and legalism; and other problems deal with the world in general such as feminism, women’s roles in the church and trials.

So grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea and sit down in that comfy place and join us every week for this online version of Coffee Talk. Better yet, buy a book and follow along with us. Next week you’ll be hearing from Gaila about gossip and slander, one of the problems all women struggle with. We want to hear from you and have you join in the conversation, so feel free to comment at the end of each blog.

Does God Care??

While at the Revive ’13: Women Helping Women Conference, I sat under rich teaching of God’s truth.  I was blessed to hear Paul David Tripp speak for the first time.  I had many take-aways from his messages and wanted to share some of these with you.

Friday night, his message opened with asking how we respond to trials and hardship.  We think to ourselves:  “Do you care about my marriage?” “Do you care about the fact that I lost my job and am in financial need?” “Do you care about the fact I am dealing with the weakness of old age?”

When we face trials or sufferings we should ask ourselves two questions:

  1. What in the world is God doing?
  2. How in the world should I respond?

He brought us to Mark chapter 6, starting in verses 45-52:

             “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.48 Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. 49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.”

How did the disciples get themselves into this mess??  Jesus told them to get in the boat and row.  He put them in this mess.  They are right where he wants them to be.

Why would he want them to be in this difficulty??

Paul Tripp reminded us there are many times that “God will take you where you hadn’t intended to go to produce in you what you could not do on your own.”  The Bible calls that GRACE!!!  We need the transforming grace of refinement (which is the theology of uncomfortable grace).   This is such a great picture to meditate on when in a time of trial.  When everything is going well in life and things are easy, we have the tendency to rely on ourselves and to completely forget of our need for God. We lose sight of God’s will/plan for us. When God takes us to those places where we don’t understand what He is doing, these are the times when we see our desperate need to rely on HIM!  We can fall into the mindset of only asking God to remove the trial (to give us relief),  but we need to be praying for Him to also do a great work in us, and show us how we might grow more into His likeness through the trial.

Paul Tripp points out, “This is the LORD!  His intention of this moment is being revealed when he walks on water.  If all he wanted to do was remove the difficulty, he would have just calmed the storm.  He wouldn’t have had to take the walk.  He is not after the difficulty; he is after the people in the middle of the difficulty.”  What a loving God we serve that he would be after us in the midst of difficulty.  He is our Father, and wants us to cry out to Him.

Another thing that I love that Paul Tripp hit on had to do with the disciples and their reactions to witnessing different miracles.  When I think of the disciples, I think I forget how much like me they really are.  I guess I put this label on them that they are such great followers, as they LITERALLY followed Christ.  The disciples had recently watched Him raise a girl from the dead and feed a multitude with a little boy’s lunch.   They break bread with Christ and hear of everything that he must go through dying on the cross, and yet shortly after, they are fighting with each other about who will be greatest in the kingdom.  Wow!!!  I think to myself, “Really guys??  Christ just laid out his plan of redemption and this is what you think about?”  And then I remember how faithful God is in my life and how many times I question Him and His motives.

We look at this passage and see that Jesus WALKED ON WATER.  This was such a magnificent display of God’s glory.  How do the disciples respond?  They are frightened!  They are also “astonished” or “amazed” by what Jesus just did.  This just means that they are in awe.  We can be amazed without having faith.  Even when they are in the presence of Christ and have seen Him walk on water, their hearts are hardened.

So, does God care?  Paul Tripp reminds us “Sometimes you NEED the storm in order to see the glory!” The care IS the storm.  He is zealous that we would see and understand and have hearts of faith!  It’s impossible for you to ever be in the storms of life on your own because your life has been invaded by the grace of the one who is the I AM.

Oh I pray that when I am thrown into the next trial that I would have right thinking, pray rightly, and not question God if He cares about what I am going through.

Book Review: Beautiful Battlefields

Beautiful Battlefields, by Bo Stern, is a great book for the discouraged and downtrodden. The first half helps you see the beauty in the trials that you are facing and the second half gives you ways to fight through the trials to the glory of God.

As much as I enjoyed this book I would like to caution potential readers to read through the lens of the bible. There were a few things that Bo Stern said that I don’t think I agree with. For example, she stated that God did not give her husband his disease but goes on to say that God is in control. Not only does that not line up with the bible, the statement contradicts itself. God is sovereign, which means all things come from Him. Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17) but so do the not so “good” things.  The bible tells us that we will have various trials come our way but that they are good. They make us perfect and complete lacking in nothing (James 1:3). They produce endurance (James 1:2). The bible also states that God works out everything for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

With that said, I really did enjoy reading Beautiful Battlefields. Bo Stern does a great job letting you know that you aren’t alone. She reminds you of your hope in Jesus Christ and that He is faithful and trustworthy to keep His promises. This book is very useful in the day-to-day inconveniences of life and it would be at the top of my list of things to read next time I am facing a big trial.

(Our ministry was given a free book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for a review of this book.)

Enter Today | 3/4 – 3/12! for a chance to win an iPad 2 from Bo Stern. Follow the link.

“The Valley”

I know so many of you haven’t been feeling well or have little ones who are sick.  I was making my list of people to pray for that are either sick, had  surgery, or are going to have surgery and I was taken aback at the number of people I know that are having physical trials.

It reminded me of the book I had just finished reading:  My Wife Her Shining Life by Dr. Jim Rosscup.  It is “the chronicles” if you will, of both the author and his wife’s genealogy and their life together as a married couple.  You have to marvel at the grace of God even before the author was called to serve Him.  His wife’s life was filled with struggles as she lived with a lung disease and she struggled to breath on a daily basis.  It seemed like her life was marked by one hardship after another.  I could see why her husband loved her to pieces, for in her weakness she showed great strength.  He pretty much credits all of his accomplishments, besides to the Lord, to her.  Their story is a beautiful picture of the oneness God intended for marriage.

He quotes some of the stanzas of  her favorite poem (pg. 216) and I can see why she loved it so much.  It is a call to bear up under our struggles with great courage and faith.  May it encourage you in your affliction this day.

 

The Valley

“I have been through the valley of weeping,

The valley of sorrow and pain;

But the ‘God of all comfort’ was with me,

At hand to uphold and sustain.

 

“When He leads through some valley of trouble,

His powerful hand we can trace;

For the trials and sorrows He sends us

Are part of His lessons of grace.

 

“Oft we shrink from the purging and pruning,

Forgetting the Husbandman knows

The deeper the cutting and pruning,

The richer the cluster that grows.

“As we travel through life’s shadowed valley,

Fresh springs of His love ever rise;

And we learn that our sorrows and losses

Are blessings just sent in disguise.

 

“So we’ll follow wherever He leadeth,

Though pathways be dreary of bright;

For we’ve proof that our God can give comfort,

Our God can give songs in the night.”

 

— Author Unknown

 

Esme

 

Tis The Season of Suffering and Struggle……

We are all done with Thanksgiving and Christmas!  If you are anything like me, it was easy to get caught up in all the tasks that needed to be done and forget to simply sit at Jesus’ feet, dwell on the sweetness of His sovereign love and the work He has done and is doing in your life.  This time of year painful memories are brought to light and for some reason it seems like trouble and calamity strikes more than usual.  I don’t know that as a fact, but rather that is at least more visible and even the struggles throughout the year seem more painful.  You feel the sting of the job loss, or the dead end job that no matter how much you work or how hard you work leaves you still needy and dissatisfied .  You feel the agony that the loss of a loved one brings in a different manner.  You begin to give into hopeless thoughts that come with rejection and the despair of the illness and disease that plague you.  We begin to forget to do battle in our thinking and fight the fight of faith.  We begin to forget the gospel.  We cry our with the Psalmist, ” How long O Lord?”   Which is why we need to be slowing down and sitting at Jesus’ feet all the more and remember to also cry out with the Psalmist, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that would see the goodness of the LORD In the and of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. ” (Psalm 27:13-14)

Dear sisters, I know so many of you are suffering and struggling in some way.  My own mother just recently had a hospital stay after a mild heart attack and is now home taking care of unexpected health issues.  She is a like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season, and is an example of faith as each time she is brought low with suffering, she sees and savors her savior and helps others do the same. Let us be women like that; especially in a time where suffering is so apparent, and help each other by reminding one another of our tender and compassionate God, praying for one another, and loving each other through our season of struggle and the holidays.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face. – William Cowper

I encourage anyone in a season of struggle to read this book:

Discerning Reader review on A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper

By Jasmine Aldrich