Deep Waters

“I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me” (Psalm 69:2).

My sweet friend, Charmé asked me several months ago to consider sharing how God has walked beside me through the past few years of my life. Just processing what has happened the past seven years feels overwhelming, but with God’s gentle, constant prompting and Charmé’s patience and encouragement, here are just a few snapshots of my life and that of my family with God’s handprint in everything!

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Jenny Yust and her sweet family

My name is Jenny Yust. I grew up going to church and being introduced to the things of God and I definitely would have identified myself as a Christian. However, there were many parts of my life that did not reflect what God’s word says about a Christ follower. Thanks be to God that when I was 28 years old the Holy Spirit revealed my lack of true relationship with Jesus and everything changed in my life. He truly became Lord of my life, and I can’t even share all the ways that He has walked with me and talked with me every day of my life. Currently I am married to my precious husband of 31 years, Shon, and am blessed to have two adult children, Parker (who is headed to the Philippines to be a campus missionary) and Macy (who is a senior at Kansas State University and preparing to take the next step God has for her) and then my amazing 11-year-old, Zoey who is truly a daily joy in my life! God in his sovereignty is currently using me to teach Spanish at Mighty Oaks Enrichment Center, facilitate a Bible Study at Mighty Oaks for 3rd-6th graders, lead ladies Bible studies at my home church in Spring Hill, Kansas and run a ministry called Team Hally (teamhally.org). Today I would love to share with each of you why God called me to start a ministry called Team Hally.

Looking back at this summer the list is long of God’s goodness! This past summer our family has enjoyed a trip to Arizona and the beauty of the Grand Canyon, dessert trails, and beautiful caves, spearfishing in the Bahamas, helping with wheat harvest on the family farm, waterski tournaments around the state, one of the most epic fireworks displays we’ve ever had, giving Bibles to local church VBS programs and camps, and watching our 11-year-old participate in her first 4-H county fairs and barrel races. So many special memories and so much joy. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

                   Hally

However, seven years ago our family had a very different summer than we expected. The summer of 2014 began much like this summer did with our family excited for waterskiing, harvest, swimming lessons, VBS, family vacations, time with friends, and the pool! Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”  I’m so thankful that the secret things belong to the Lord because if He would have revealed what would happen from July 4-10, I’m not sure I could have survived!

                                      Hally Yust

As I reflect on that week as well as the weeks before, I now know that God was preparing our family to walk through the deepest waters we could have imagined at that time. That summer my husband Shon and I had four children, Parker-16, Macy-13, Hally-9, and Zoey-3. Our family loves to waterski and all of us even ski competitively. The hidden thing we didn’t know about was a rare amoeba that can enter into someone’s brain from the water. Our blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter Hally spent hours playing in the water at the waterski tournaments with her siblings and friends, but for some reason this rare amoeba got into Hally’s brain (without our knowledge!). One day Hally had a headache, the next day she was very sick with what I thought was a bad stomach virus, and the next day we were in the hospital very confused, and by the evening of July 8th, 2014, we were told that our daughter was brain dead.

Psalm 69:2 says, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” Even as I write these words to you all today, tears are rolling down my cheeks, my throat is closing, my chest is tight, and the pain of those days wash over me again. HOWEVER, there is One who is closer than a brother, my anchor in the storm, and holds on to me no matter how the storm rages in my life and in my soul! In Psalm 23:4 David tells us that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me;”.  God showed me He was with me even when I was at the bottom of the valley through:

                      Hally
  • a kind chaplain praying for Shon and I at the side of Hally’s bed
  • friends and family making us meals
  • neighbors driving us to the store when we were too grief-stricken to even drive
  • our children who continued to laugh and live life
  • God’s Word that revived my soul
  • a sweet group of mamas of Hally’s friends who weekly prayed over me for months
  • for a church family who allowed us to heal for as long as we needed
  • and so much more!

I can’t even write down all the ways God showed me his love each moment and has continued to walk beside me, fill me up with Himself, comfort me, bring me back when I go astray, and teach me to number my days.

Truly as I couldn’t foresee the depth of the pain God would allow in my life; equally I couldn’t foresee how God could use the death of my daughter to show me how much He loves me and how He will provide each day exactly what I need as long as I seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). Soon after Hally went to heaven I felt lost, angry, and confused. I continued to read my Bible every day, journal to the Lord, seek wise counsel, and worship. However, to be honest I was struggling!

As God always does, He provided exactly the resource that gave my weary soul rest. When Hally died we were given over twenty books on grief. I prayed with my sister over the overwhelming stack of books and decided I would only keep the ones that contained Biblical advice and were based on Scripture. The book that I have now given to many who have gone through grief is called “The Book of Hope” by Nancy Guthrie. In addition, she has written a Bible study called “Holding on to Hope.” One of my dear friends walked through this study with me and truly God provided much healing and direction over the next year.

In addition, seeking God’s love and direction lit a fire in my soul to share the Gospel, to give God’s Word, to yearn for heaven, to have more grace and mercy on those around me, to realize the pain so many around me suffer when they lose loved ones, and to realize that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  But I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). One of the many things the Lord has done with our family is to begin a ministry called Team Hally. Our ministry gives Bibles to local churches for VBS programs, camps, Sunday schools, individuals, mission trips, etc. God has given us opportunities to give Bibles all over the world and we have English, Spanish, and French Bibles. In the past six years we have given over 10,000 Bibles which truly overwhelms my soul! (Ephesians 3:20)

I would love to end this story with been there, done that and now there is no more grief in my life. Sadly, each of us knows that isn’t the truth on this earth. Ever since the first sin by Adam and Eve, we all live in a broken world. Our family has faced many hard things since 2014 but I have seen God never leave me or forsake me and I know He is good all the time! Whatever you might be facing today I want to encourage you that no matter what circumstances you face: “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and his goodness endures forever” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Concluding thoughts by Charmé   While reading and rereading Jenny’s faith journey of her precious daughter, Hally, my heart is moved beyond words. Jenny’s faith, although severely tested, has proven to be unquenchable and transferable, as she demonstrates a genuine love for Jesus and others. I personally cannot grasp the depth of Jenny’s sorrow and grief with the loss of her beautiful daughter. I’ve been told by close friends who have lost a child, including, Jenny, that the pain is immeasurable. As Jenny gave me the final edits and photos, she shared with me, that it brought her great joy to reread her own testimony of God’s amazing love and provision. God is using Jenny’s testimony to touch the lives of many others who have experienced the journey of loss, especially of those who have experienced the death of a child, and close family members. As she stated in her story, the book that helped her walk through the darkest days is The Book of Hope, by Nancy Guthrie. I have included a link to the book and Nancy’s website. I hope that you will also take a moment to read more about Hally and her family through the website that is dedicated to their precious daughter. Team Hally: teamhally.org

What Are These Stones For?

“Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18, NLT).

A Personal Testimony by Sharon Bushey — “Jesus is enough for me.”

Sharon’s 3 vases (left to right): Faith Confirmed: miracles, special blessings & answered prayers; Faith Confessed: confidence in what we hope for; and, Faith…Come What May: blank stones for future needs.
Faith Vases
(See below for description)

My sister-in-law Kathie and I watched the conference speaker drop stones into a large clear vase as she told how the Israelites built memorials. Their hope was that future generations would ask, “What are these stones for?” and in response they would tell the stories of God’s faithfulness (Joshua 4:21-24; I Samuel 7:12). Kathie and I decided to buy our own vases, stones, and fine-tip markers. Our stones with dates and brief messages would be permanent reminders of God’s goodness for our children and grandchildren. We also prayed, along with our conference sisters, that our children would see a modern-day miracle that showcased God’s goodness and undeniable power.

Two weeks later, Thanksgiving weekend, Kathie and my brother Wayne stood beside the ICU bed of their twenty-three-year-old daughter. Megan had congestive heart failure caused by a virus that had damaged her left ventricle at the age of fifteen. Would this be our miracle? God knew we needed one.

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By April Megan was in ICU again with her name at the top of the heart transplant list. Glad to be retired, I packed my journal and enough clothes to stay as long as Megan, Kathie, and Wayne needed my support. What I didn’t know was that it would be Megan who would support me and many others on the faith journey of our lives. Although Megan knew that she was surrounded by multiple machines that were keeping her alive, she spoke her motto that penetrated my heart: “Aunt Sharon, through this, I demonstrate that Jesus is enough…come what may.”

For twenty-five days I slept on hospital benches and documented the impossibilities that we faced as well as the calls to prayer. Kathie’s Facebook friends and Wayne’s blog followers, many of them strangers who saw Megan’s TV interview, were drawn to a new level of faith as they prayed and then read the reports of God’s miraculous interventions time and time again.

On April 17, 2010, however, Megan was in a non-responsive state. We were told that she was now too sick to receive a heart even if one became available. We called our friends and followers to prayer.

Kathie went to the hotel to privately cry out to God. Wayne paced around Megan’s bed as he prayed for the blog followers and Megan’s work associates at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel who had just come to faith that week, and for those who were so close to believing in “Megan’s God.” Wayne didn’t want God to ruin His reputation and cause these people to doubt His goodness.

I sat alone. Only the humming machines filled the eerie silence. “Would my mom’s recent nightmare come true? Would my daughter die in a fatal car accident on the way to St. Louis and her heart be given to save Megan’s life? Was I willing to participate in this miracle if my sorrow was part of God’s plan to spare Megan and spiritually save others?” When my surrender was complete, I finally had peace.

Kathie and Wayne rejoice that Megan’s new heart beats like her own, and that she loves her life in Nashville with Nathan.

It’s a long God-story that will be for another time, but after a day of prayer and fasting around the world, thanks to media exposure, God let us see an undeniable, God-given miracle. Megan’s body systems revived, her fever and pneumonia were gone, and a perfect-match heart was received in time. And my daughter arrived safely. During our rejoicing, however, we mourned the donor family’s loss. Why did one family lose their daughter and our daughters were spared? We didn’t know. All we could do was pray that Jesus would be enough for them.

During one of Megan’s post-surgery-roller-coaster days, I read, “Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18, NLT). I was surprised by my unexpected emotional response and the clear impression that my journal was to become a book and then a movie. Eighteen months later, just before Megan’s storybook wedding to the Nashville Christian musician who loved the girl who loved Jesus with her whole heart, the book, Megan’s Heart*, was released.

My next goal was to educate myself for a new writing venture. Halfway through the book, Screenwriting for Dummies, I got so sick my doctor feared that he was losing me. A diagnosis was never made, but for the next three years, I periodically was so weak that I couldn’t even read. Instead, I watched more movies than I had ever watched in my entire life. I realized that I was mentally analyzing the movies and applying what I learned.

Just as my mysterious illness began to improve, I went through several months of severe pain and immobility due to the need for a total knee replacement. Two weeks before surgery when I attended Megan’s baby shower, I was reminded of how Megan’s motto had impacted my life and faith. I vowed to write the screenplay as soon as I recuperated. Jesus had been enough for Megan, and enough for me.

After 6 years of marriage, they were a family when Eilee Megan Kate was born on June 27, 2017.

Then life crumbled. My routine knee replacement was anything but routine. I fainted from pain during therapy; something was terribly wrong. Only a few weeks later, I got the call that Megan had given birth to a beautiful baby girl but had died only hours later. How much more could I take? How could God ruin His own miracle story? How could I write a movie script since the heroin had died?

Nathan, now a single dad, brings Eilee for dedication at the close of Megan’s Celebration of Life Service.

On December 15, 2017, I underwent one of the most extensive and complicated leg revision surgeries my orthopedic team had ever done. For the next eight weeks, I was alone on my couch-bed in the sunroom with only my thoughts to occupy my time. I could only be up five minutes every hour, and pain dictated that I use even those times only as needed. I got a few cards, but almost no visitors; did my friends and family care? My husband cared, but I also sensed his exhaustion and perceived emotional withdrawal as he dutifully kept me fed, iced, and medicated. Did God even care that I was sick again? In the depth of my despair as I cried and yielded all the “come what may(s)” of my life, Jesus became enough for me. I determined that I would pick up Megan’s torch. I would demonstrate through my this that Jesus would be enough…come what may. I would finish that screenplay as soon as I could sit erect!

Megan’s story now became my personal journey of testing. I felt inadequate. The pain made it difficult to think. How could I possibly keep my baby-shower-day promise? I read, “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious. I have not drawn back” (Isaiah 50:4-5). God confirmed in my spirit that the screenplay was His idea; He would instruct me. All He needed was my daily obedience to write. Through my this, my seeming impossibilities, I would demonstrate that Jesus is enough…come what may.

I remembered the half-read book I hadn’t seen since we moved. I quickly found it in the first place I looked. As I opened it to the bookmark where I had stopped reading years before, I read these words, “Even when the protagonist dies, there is still a story to tell.” This was a secular book, but these were heaven-sent words, just for me.

Richard & Sharon’s 50th Wedding Anniversary August 17, 2018

During these four years of recuperation, I did finish that screenplay, but only because I held on to this promise: “The vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come…it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3, NIV).

During the years of writing and learning to walk again, I became convinced that God wants this feature film to show more than Megan’s heart story and His power to perform miracles. God wants His hurting children to see His love…by seeing our story. What is the greatest miracle? Jesus is enough even when miracles turn into grief. He is enough when grief forever coexists with our joy. God is still good…even when life doesn’t make sense and our hearts hurt to the core. In the middle of the worst that life can throw at us, we can tell our hearts to heal and beat again, only because Jesus will be enough…come what may.

Today I’m walking a new uncharted path as I face the seeming impossibilities of getting my screenplay, Heartbeat…Come What May, to the big screen. And even so, I know Jesus will be enough. You may also be in a difficult situation. Hold on! When your trust is complete and Jesus is enough for you, then together we will spread our message of hope: Through this I demonstrate that Jesus is enough…come what may.

Nathan & Megan’s family participating in the American Heart Association Walk for Life in Nashville.
Sharon’s 3 Faith Vases (left to right) Faith Confirmed: miracles, special blessings & answered prayers; Faith Confessed: confidence in what we hope for; and Faith…Come What May: blank stones for future needs.
Sharon Bushey

Sharon Bushey lives in Lebanon, MO with her husband Richard, a retired minister. Sharon, mother of three adult children and grandmother of seven, enjoyed her years as an elementary school teacher, school counselor, and college psychology instructor. She is now grateful for the writing time that retirement provides. To contact contact Sharon and to request a copy of her book, Megan’s Heart, you may email her at sbushey7@gmail.com.

Personal thoughts about my friend and spiritual mentor

Decatur West Side Church of the Nazarene, Centennial Celebration, 2018. Pastor Richard & Sharon Bushey are second from left, Jeff & Charmé Fletcher are fourth from left.

I first met Sharon Bushey in Decatur, Illinois, when she and her husband Richard became our pastor and wife at West Side Church of the Nazarene in 1988. I immediately sensed a genuine love for Jesus and for others as Sharon ministered to our church family. Sharon’s heart for prayer has impacted my life for many years. Being reunited in 2001, Sharon and Pastor Bushey began attending our church in Camdenton, MO, where my husband Jeff was the pastor. It was such a joy to reconnect again! From that point forward, Sharon and I rejuvenated our prayer partner relationship, emailing each other often with special prayer requests and praises. While Jeff was pastoring churches in Camdenton and later in Belton, MO, Pastor Bushey and Sharon shared their speaking ministries with our church families. They provided marriage seminars, pulpit supply, and much encouragement to us personally. Sharon spoke at a women’s ministry luncheon at our Belton church, where she shared the story, “What Are These Stones For?” Through this cherished time together, my daughter Janée was moved to purchase me my own faith vases, along with stones. Since that time, I keep the jars of faith on a shelf in our office. It has been such a blessing to look at all the answers to prayers and to remember God’s faithfulness. I, too, hope that our children and grandchildren will continue to recount all the answers to prayer, including undeniable miracles in our family, and that they will retell these faith stories and their own to future generations.

Charmé’s Faith Vases

“We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands” (Psalm 78:4-7, NIV).

I’d love to see Sharon’s screenplay, Heartbeat…Come What May, become a movie. I believe that through Megan’s story, many people will discover the power of prayer and will have the opportunity to believe for themselves: Jesus is enough in all situations. Please join me in prayer for this endeavor. Thank you!

Waiting on the LORD

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).

Part One of Three

Part 1: A brief look at three women and one man who experienced great loss and the raw emotions they displayed during their pain. In this three-part reflection, we will begin to answer these questions:  Is there purpose in waiting on God?  Does God love me and care about me? Why do my prayers seem to go unanswered?

Waiting for the LORD to act on our behalf or answer our prayers can seem unbearable at times. And I believe even more so in this high tech, instantaneous world we live in.

I’ve been studying the life of Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Both women were widowed and experienced feelings of abandonment, great loneliness, poverty, and an uncertain future. Any one of these emotions can evoke fear and a sense of hopelessness, let alone the combination of multiple struggles and hardships.

Possibly you can relate to some of these emotions or others that seemingly hit without much warning, or at other times, seem to linger much longer than we’d prefer. I know that I can relate to most.

It became clear to me that Naomi’s deep grief stemmed from not only the death of her husband, but also the death of her two sons. I personally can’t fathom the intense sorrow and pain of these multiple losses. I’ve been told from close friends who have experienced a death of a child, that this is the greatest pain they’ve ever experienced, even more so than the death of a spouse or parent.

Marriage of my mom and dad. Rev. Alvin Mueller, pastor who led my mom to Jesus during her battle with cancer.

My grandmother, grandfather, and me

I do know that the pain of losing my mother at age seven was severe, but as I look back, I realize that my pain paled in comparison with that of my paternal grandfather. He experienced the death of his only child, (my father), the death of his wife, his parents, and my mother, all within seven years.

Me and my grandfather

Being raised by my grandfather following the loss of my mother, I observed what I thought to be peculiar behavior in my grandfather, especially around certain holidays. At the time, I didn’t understand why my loving and doting grandpa would often remain in bed on Christmas mornings. Much later, as an adult, I realized that my  grandfather suffered intensely during Christmas, as he recalled cherished and happier memories of his deceased son and wife. This time of the year was also a trigger for his pain, with the birth and death dates falling during the holiday season. I now look back with great love, compassion, and empathy for my tenderhearted grandfather.

I suppose this is why I can relate to Naomi. Her anguish was intense and the way she responded was real. The following is Naomi’s response to her hometown, as they exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” Her Hebrew name means “pleasant.”

Returning to Bethlehem, after being gone for ten years, and following the loss of her husband and sons, Naomi expresses her heartache to the crowd and to God.

 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21).

Mara in Hebrew means “bitter.”

Some who haven’t experienced the same type of suffering may be quick to judge Naomi for her direct response, and this is understandable. It’s often difficult to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes unless you have worn the same shoes.

For me, it’s easy to relate to Naomi’s raw emotions because of my personal experience and the observation of my grandfather’s response to great loss.

It’s amazing how God helps us to identify with those who have experienced the same or similar losses. I believe He does this so that we can offer hope and encouragement to those who He brings into our lives.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

Throughout this fascinating love story filled with a plethora of drama and suspense, we learn a lot about two women who learned to wait upon the LORD… for His divine and providential plans to unfold in their lives. From the account of Scripture, Ruth possessed a humble and faithful spirit of servanthood and obedience. Observing these attractive character traits first in her mother-in-law, Ruth began to emulate Naomi’s genuine faith. Doing so, Ruth placed her faith in the One True God, which ultimately led her to her kinsman redeemer and future husband, Boaz.

Over a relatively short time span, we see how Naomi’s trust in God revitalized as she passes along words of wisdom to Ruth.

Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today” (Ruth 3:18). This refers to Ruth waiting to hear back from Boaz, to learn if he could legally purchase Naomi’s land, and in doing so become Ruth’s husband. (Ruth 4 describes this God-ordained transaction.)

Waiting on the LORD for answers to our prayers and for a much-desired miracle can seem like “forever” in some instances. And there are times that we may feel like giving up and even blaming God for not “coming through” for us. If you’re human, you have probably felt like Naomi at one time or another. And this is perfectly okay! God understands our heart, even more than we do. He created us with a full range of emotions, and He is big enough to handle our outbursts resulting from inner strife and pain.

God also knows that waiting on answers to our prayers can be a true test of our faith. In fact, God often uses the time of waiting to strengthen our faith. Here are a few examples from the Bible of those who found themselves in a time of waiting on the LORD.

  • Jesus had to wait until He was 30 years old (Luke 3:23) to fulfill His mission on earth, performing miracles and teaching about the Kingdom of God. Then 3 years later, Jesus completed His mission on the cross, for the redemption of the world. (John 3:16)
  • Jesus then waited 40 days after his resurrection from the grave before He ascended to the Father. (Acts 1:3)
  • The apostles had to wait 10 days after Jesus ascended before they received the promised Holy Spirit in the upper room. (Acts 1:4-5)
  • Moses, at age 80 (Exodus 7:7), had waited in the desert for 40 years (Acts 7:30) before he was sent by God to rescue the children of Israel from Pharoah.
  • The Israelites waited for 430 years before God delivered them from the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:40)
  • Abraham had to wait 25 years for the birth of his son Isaac. (Genesis 21:5)
  • Noah had to wait for 120 years from the time God told him to build the ark until the time of the flood. (Genesis 6:3)
  • And Mary and Martha waited a gut-wrenching two days before Jesus came to heal and ultimately raise their brother Lazarus from the grave. (John 11:5-6)
  • An invalid for 38 years waited by the Pool of Bethseda to be healed. (John 5:1-16) (See link to The Chosen, “The Perfect Opportunity”)

When hardships and new obstacles come our way, do we instantly turn to God for guidance and provision, or do we fret and worry, and try to fix problems with our own means and within our own time schedule? Scripture teaches that our trials teach us to trust in God and strengthens our faith in Him. It also teaches us that our trials produce a deeper intimacy with the LORD (1 Peter 4:1-2). When we accept that hardship is a part of the Christian life, we can lean on God and grow closer to Him.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

When, (not if) we find ourselves in a time of waiting, God promises to be with us and to give us His power and wisdom to navigate through these difficult seasons of life. All God asks of us is to take hold of His outstretched hand of mercy, grace, and unconditional love, and rest assured of His perfect timing. The following passages of Scripture are encouraging to me, and I hope they will be to you as well.

“For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.…” (Romans 8:24-26).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” (Romans 8:35)?

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

As we wait upon the LORD and trust that His way is better than our plans and desires, and that He understands our needs better than we do, we will be able to rest in His perfect love and provision. Our heavenly Father sees what lies ahead and knows what He wants to accomplish in every situation of our life. And as we spend time in His Word, we will discover that our trust in God is growing as we discern His ways and plans are for our good and not for harm. (Jeremiah 29:11).

The Chosen TV Series (Season 2, episode 4) “The Perfect Opportunity” – offers a heart-wrenching rendition of someone waiting on the LORD for healing thirty-eight years, and the dance of victory he receives through Christ alone.  (The link below will give you directions for watching The Chosen.)

May be an image of 3 people and text that says 'The CHOSEN SEASON2 WATCH NOW ON THE "CHOSEN" APP ANDROID APP ON Google play Download the App Store'

https://thechosensupport.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045859754-How-Do-I-Watch-The-Chosen-On-My-TV-

Watch for the next blog post: Part Two: Reasons for Waiting—A Time of Testing

“When We Fall Apart” – Songs of Hope

While driving to work I heard this song playing on the radio: “When We Fall Apart.” I don’t recall hearing it before, but the words caught my attention. A portion of the lyrics:

“When We Fall Apart” by Ryan Stevenson, songwriter, musician

You were 43 when you got the news
Life will be changing, nothing we can do
The clock is ticking now
All I can think about
Is knowing I have to move on without you somehow
And I just can’t believe
That you’re the one whose keeping it together
As you hold my hand and say

It’s okay to cry
It’s okay to fall apart
You don’t have to try
To be strong when you are not
And it may take some time to make sense of all your thoughts
But don’t ever fight your tears
‘Cause there is freedom in every drop
Sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart is when we fall apart

Ryan Stevenson penned these words ten years after the death of his mother. His personal testimony:

I remember the last words my mom spoke to me. She said on her death bed in our last conversation, ‘don’t ever think that you need to have it all together. Don’t ever think that you need to fight back your tears because sometimes the only way we see clearly is when we look through our tears. Sometimes our greatest act of strength is really our weakness. It’s in our surrender. And sometimes the only way we heal is when we just let go, crumble and fall apart.’” – Ryan Stevenson

To listen to this song, “When We Fall Apart,” see the  video at: https://youtu.be/xUPgzd3nwMo

Following nine years as a paramedic, Ryan Stevenson signed an exclusive agreement with Gotee Records in 2013 after capturing TobyMac’s attention by co-writing the No. 1 and Grammy-nominated single “Speak Life.” In 2015, Stevenson’s full-length album “Fresh Start,” featured the RIAA Gold-certified single “Eye of the Storm.”

“The Eye of the Storm” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sx8wTnnfSc

“I’m so thankful that songs sneak past us and our boundaries and penetrate to the heart. I just want to encourage everybody to be bold, speak out about your brokenness, speak out about things that are actually going on in your life because that is what makes what we are doing special and sets people free – that is our testimony that truly starts revival.” – Ryan Stevenson

Arriving at work, I began to research more about Ryan Stevenson. Wow! I’m not sure why I hadn’t learned about this Christian music artist before, but I have heard many of his songs on the radio. Some which include: “Eye Of The Storm,” “Speak Life,” Amadeo.” Each one has an amazing story behind it.

TobyMac and Ryan Stevenson

God took a tenderhearted little boy from Bonanza, Oregon, and shaped his yielded spirit to follow Christ…through various means. Childhood and teenage insecurities, seeds of faith planted by his parents, church attendance and his youth pastor, as a caretaker for his mom who was diagnosed with cancer during his sophomore year in high school, a ‘chance’ encounter with a woman struck by lightning while working as a paramedic, the death of his mom, his wife’s miscarriage of twins, and a special unexpected meeting with TobyMac.

Without going into detail of each one, I encourage you to listen to the amazing God-filled testimony of Ryan Stevenson on the Billy Graham Association website: https://billygraham.org/audio/how-ryan-stevenson-found-peace-with-god-in-the-eye-of-the-storm/

Abbreviated testimony of Ryan Stevenson talking about his songs, by CCLI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQPQcy9nzJk

Each of us will encounter storms in life…death of a loved one, job loss, cancer diagnosis, divorce, infertility, wayward prodigal, financial hardship, and the list goes on. And some of us may face more and even greater hardships than others.

Because we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3), because of sin, we will all face difficult and painful circumstances. However, there is good news for those who have placed their trust in the LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“One glorious future day, the curse of corruption and decay will be lifted for all eternity: “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:19–21, NLT; see also Revelation 22:3).” (To read more see: Got Questions, What Does The Bible Say About Corruption? https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-corruption.html  

During our women’s Bible study, our teacher wrote on a dry erase board all the bad things we could think of. It was quite a list! But then she added: Starvation, the Rwanda genocide (where Hutu extremists murdered at least 800,000 Tutsis over the course of 100 days), mass shootings where gunmen shoot and kill children, youth, and adults. Then she said, “And, yes, God is still the comfort for ALL those who mourn.” Our feelings may tell us otherwise, especially in the moment of great despair. Just like our Bible study teacher tearfully recalled, “There was a time when I didn’t believe God could comfort me, when my daughter passed away (from a very rare illness caused by a waterborne amoeba that attacks the brain).” She went on to say, “But God understood my pain, and He was and is faithful to be my comforter.”

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

I pray that these testimonies and songs of hope will encourage you today. And for those who are going through a difficult journey, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).

With the love of Jesus,

Charmé

“Wildest Dreams” Album

Ryan Stevenson –  https://www.ryanstevensonmusic.com/

“Eye of the Storm” book

 

Ryan Stevenson and his family

 

Loss of a spouse…GOD IS FAITHFUL!

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Written by: Mary Alice Medley

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Daryl & Mary Alice Medley 50th Wedding Anniversary

On September 17, 2014, we went to Daryl’s doctor’s appointment. While we were there he became very ill so I took him to the emergency room. This was the beginning of our journey together until February 27, 2015 when Daryl went home to his eternal reward.

During those long days, weeks, and months, I remained by Daryl’s side. Driving daily to and from the hospital or the nursing home, some of the trips were in torrential rain and the dark of night. Daryl, knowing I’m not a good driver and have no sense of direction, worried about me and always said, “be careful” or “is the car running okay?” I didn’t have a single accident or any car trouble during this time. I had wonderful friends who offered to drive me on days when I couldn’t. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

There were many trips to the emergency room and the hospital–eight trips to the ER and admitted to the hospital six times. When Daryl wasn’t in the hospital he was in the nursing home. Healthcare facilities are not cheap! When I saw the final cost (nearly $600.000), it was breathtaking. Yes, we had insurance and it paid a large portion of the expenses, but I was responsible for several thousand dollars on the hospital and doctor bills, plus nursing home and dialysis center expenses. Every time I received a bill from the hospital I called to make arrangements for monthly payments and most of the time they were very cooperative. In fact, while paying on four different hospital bills, I received another one. So, once again, I called to arrange payments. But after checking on the information, the clerk returned to the phone and said, “The bill is paid in full!” GOD IS FAITHFUL!

I accepted the fact that I would be making monthly payments for a long time. However, God had another plan. Daryl and his siblings inherited a farm several years ago. The farm had been on the market but hadn’t sold and we all wondered why and when someone would buy it. About a month after Daryl was hospitalized, I received a call from his sister. She said, “We sold the farm.” I told her that was an answer to prayer and I would use the money to take care of Daryl. We did not receive a huge sum because the proceeds were divided among five siblings, but I have NO medical bills! God’s timing is perfect. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

While Daryl was ill, I had some issues at home. The refrigerator quit. I didn’t want to take the time to go shopping, so I ordered a new refrigerator online. It was delivered and the old one removed. The delivery man said he needed to turn off the water for the ice maker on the old fridge, so he went downstairs and turned it off, supposedly. After several days, I noticed water on the laundry room floor and could see where a pipe was leaking. I called a plumber we had used previously. The plumber came and discovered all the wood flooring under the kitchen was water-soaked and the kitchen floor needed to be pulled up and the wood dried out. I was unable to get someone to come out immediately to dry everything out, and they would not install a new floor until they were sure my insurance was going to pay. I made many phone calls over the next several weeks, trying to assure that the damage would be paid for. Eventually, I received a check for the entire cost and got a nice new kitchen floor. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

God continues to show His faithfulness to me in so many ways.

One day I had a flat tire. I had never aired up a tire, so God provided a kind gentleman who offered to help me. The next day some kind friends followed me to Tires Plus so I could get it fixed. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

My garage door failed to stay down. so I prayed and said, “Lord you know I won’t sleep tonight if this garage door is up.” I tried one more time and it went down. I called a repairman who came out quickly and fixed it. The cost was minimal because I had purchased a maintenance agreement with the company.  GOD IS FAITHFUL!

One day I was getting ready to run some errands, and when I turned the key in the car ignition, it wouldn’t start. I needed a new battery. I walked across the street and asked my neighbor if he could help. He came, put the battery charger on and instructed me to a place where I could buy a new battery and have it installed. I was up and running within an hour. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

Just recently, I was driving down what is typically a very busy street. Suddenly a large dog jumped out in front of me. I stopped immediately, but I hit the dog. He rolled over several times right down the middle of the street. Thankfully, there were no cars coming! The dog jumped up on all fours and ran away. I am so thankful I didn’t run him over because he would have been hurt badly and I would have damaged my car considerably. Also, if there would have been anyone coming behind me, they could not have avoided hitting my car, which would have caused considerable damage. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

When we started this journey in September of 2014, the Lord gave me a verse from Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God’s promises are sure and HE IS FAITHFUL!

About Mary Alice: I first met Mary Alice when my husband was interviewing for the lead pastor position at St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene, KC., MO. Since then, I ‘ve had the wonderful opportunity getting to know Mary Alice as a friend and sister in Christ. She demonstrates a strong and dedicated faith in God. Mary Alice is the prayer coordinator for our church and is always reaching out to those who need encouragement, including me. It was a true blessing to meet some of her family during our National Grandparents Day of Prayer. Mary Alice and Daryl have raised a family who loves Jesus.

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Mary Alice with her family

I hope that you will take the time to read more about Mary Alice through her personal testimony.

MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY

By Mary Alice Medley

medley-girl
Mary Alice

I was very fortunate to have Christian parents who always guided me in the things of the Lord. My father was a minister. He lost his health at a very young age, before I was born.  When I was just a few months old, I became very ill. My parents were living in a very remote area, so they could not get me to a doctor. My father anointed me, and I was healed. God had a reason for sparing my life.

When I was six months old, my parents moved back to civilization and settled in Indiana. I grew up in a small town, small school, and small church. When I was five, I accepted Christ as my Savior at my mother’s knee. The church I grew up in was quite legalistic and I found myself at the altar many times. My heart’s desire was to serve the Lord, but I had a lot of spiritual growing to do.

After high school, I attended Olivet Nazarene College (now University) for two years. Those were eye-opening days for me and experiences that enriched my life. My parents were unable to help me financially, so it was a struggle, but again, God was faithful and I am so thankful for the opportunity and the friends I made during those years.

God kept His hand on me and in 1959 I felt led to move to Kansas City to work at the Nazarene Publishing House. I started attending St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene and am still attending the same church today. I met my husband at the church and we were married in 1963. We were blessed with two children in the next two years. Those were difficult times financially and physically, but God was faithful and provided our needs.

On Christmas Eve, 1971, I gave birth to a stillborn child that I had carried for nine months. The days and weeks following that loss were very difficult for me. I felt like no one understood, but again, God was so faithful and provided strength and guidance.

In the fall of 1972, I began working at Nazarene Headquarters (now Global Ministry Center). I worked in various areas for the Church of the Nazarene until December 2008, when Daryl fell on the ice and became disabled. I needed to stay home and care for him, and again, God was faithful to give us strength and supply our needs.

As I look back, I see the hand of God as He led me each step of the way. Today, as I face life as a widow, I sense God’s presence in my life each day. He is my shelter, my rock, my helper, my healer, my provider. He is faithful and I will serve Him as long as he gives me breath.

Holding His Hand

Illness and death are sadly a part of this world. The reason? Sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and we now live in a world filled with the effects of sinful man.

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—(Romans 12:5).

 But the story doesn’t end there. Read on: (Parentheses added.)

21 For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (Christ). 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam (Christ), a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man (Adam) was of the dust of the earth; the second man (Christ) is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man (Adam), so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man (Christ), so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man (Adam), so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man (Christ).

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?     Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:44-57)

God can resurrect the body–perfectly, completely and supernaturally.

Mary Alice holds an unshakeable faith in Christ. She has told me multiple times that even though she misses Daryl greatly, she looks forward to being reunited with him someday. She will also be reunited with their child, who was stillborn.

One day God will supernaturally bring our human bodies together, breathe into us His Spirit, and empower us physically for eternal life. Because of the resurrection of Christ, the process of death will one day be reversed, and death will be swallowed up in victory.

Eternal life can be found in Christ alone. If you haven’t received Jesus as your Savior yet, please click on this link for a simple prayer of faith:  https://holdinghishand.org/receive-jesus/

The Bible says that Christ is preparing a place in Heaven for all who have received Him. (John 14:1-3) It will be a glorious place! A place where God will dwell with his people.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)

In the Face of Death, God has a Plan

Personal Testimony Written by Katie Finn

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” James 1:2-8.

Did you know that God always answers prayer? His timing is always perfect and He has a beautiful plan for each person He has ever created.

I was born blue in the face. One doctor tried to give me oxygen but it wasn’t helping me, and another doctor suggested that they check my blood sugar. My blood sugar was extremely low, in the single digits. They found out that the illness I had was rare and only a few children in history had been born with it. The child who survived the longest lived to age 14 and was unable to sit up, walk, talk, or feed them self. The doctors told my parents, in this condition, I would only live to age 21. Throughout my childhood I spent a lot of time in the hospital. My parents and churches from all over the world were praying for me and for the doctors to have wisdom. They prayed that the Lord would work through them.

Mike & Katie Celebrating their Anniversary
Mike & Katie Celebrating their Anniversary

At age 2 the doctors decided to remove half of my pancreas which had been producing too much insulin. I was healthy for about two and a half years and then I started to get very sick again. The doctors discovered that my pancreas had grown back and was producing more insulin than it had before, so at age 5 my pancreas was completely removed. I have been a diabetic ever since. Today I am nearly 30. God answered the prayers of so many people. I have had the experience of graduating high school, college, and am now married! These are three wonderful experiences that my parents didn’t know I would ever have.

God is so good! I thank Him for each day that He blesses me with. Each day is a beautiful gift from God. As I wake up each morning and begin to tear away the paper, I can’t wait to see what He will unfold before me as I open the box. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11.

I’ve had some very hard days which have strengthened my faith in God. I’ve come to realize I don’t have to go through these times alone because I have Jesus! I know that there will never come a day in my life that will present challenges that He can’t handle through me. My goal each day is to stay as close to God as I possibly can.

Through every surgery, hospital stay, and seizure, I’ve never had to face it alone. God is there. I believe that He always has a plan. All I must do is obey if He asks me to do something, and trust Him for the results. I’m so glad my life is in His hands. I know I would not be here today without Him!

No matter what challenges you may be facing, know that you don’t have to go through them alone. God loves you and if you will trust Him and believe that He has a plan, He will be with you through any challenge, any sickness, or any struggle you may ever have to face.

About Katie Finn:

Katie Finn
Katie Finn

I met Katie a year ago, when my husband and I accepted a call to pastor a church where Katie and Mike are members and serve God faithfully. After only a few conversations with Katie, I learned of her life-threatening illness and unshakeable faith in Christ. Her desire to please God in all areas of life is demonstrated by her humble and gentle spirit.

Unable to drive because of her illness and having other limitations with her vision, Katie doesn’t let this deter her from living a life of purpose and joy.

God has gifted Katie with many talents, including the ministry of music. She skillfully plays the piano and the flute, and sings beautifully unto the Lord. Katie also enjoys sewing, making many of her own clothes, and preparing healthy recipes.

Katie serves alongside of her husband, Mike, as Outreach Pastors at our church (St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene, KC, MO). They both have a tremendous heart for reaching people with the Gospel of Christ. Mike is completing his bachelor’s in biblical studies degree at MidAmerica Nazarene University, as he and Katie prepare for full-time ministry.

One of my favorite quotes from Katie’s testimony: Each day is a beautiful gift from God. As I wake up each morning and begin to tear away the paper, I can’t wait to see what He will unfold before me as I open the box.

Holding His Hand:

Mike and Katie Celebrating Christmas with Katie's family
Mike and Katie Celebrating Christmas with Katie’s Family

When all seems dark and hopeless, Jesus is there. While talking with Katie’s dad, tears filled my eyes as he retold the frightening hours/years following Katie’s birth. He said the doctors gave little to no hope of survival for their precious little girl. Katie’s parents spent endless hours lifting their hearts to God. And while confessing their anguish and fearfulness, they came to an altar of total relinquishment and trust, by praying for God’s will to be accomplished through Katie’s fragile life. The physicians’ non-encouraging consultations continued throughout Katie’s young childhood, and yet, hope and peace came through an ever-present awareness of Christ’s nearness and faithfulness.

Recommended Reading: 1 Kings 17:7-24 – Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath

 

You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

This is a true story of an unshakable faith in the midst of great sorrow, grief, and suffering.

After returning from a week’s vacation with my husband, Jeff, I wrote the following in my journal.

“I can’t even imagine the grief, sorrow, pain, and hurt they are going through, and yet, their faith in Christ is secure.”

SAM_1280Jeff and I had the opportunity to attend a pastors and wives retreat in Buchanan, Michigan, at a beautiful facility called The Lodge. We spent four nights and five days with three other pastoral couples and our host couple, Ed and Gayle, who facilitated our sharing sessions.

Prior to beginning our sessions, we sensed a spirit of love and grace within the lodge. We are thankful for our prayer team who were praying for us, along with others. I know now that these prayers were not only meant for us, but also for our host couple.

We quickly learned that Ed and Gayle lost their precious adult son six months prior, through a tragic death. I don’t feel led to share any details, for they seem inconsequential in relation to the deep loss this dear couple has experienced. I will say that I’ve never been with anyone who has demonstrated such grace and faith in the midst of severe suffering. I didn’t mention the second part to their faith journey. Ed learned he had a large cancerous tumor in his bladder just a few months following his son’s death.

Ironically, I heard the following statement twice during our vacation/retreat week, “You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.” This was spoken first by our retreat host and the second time by my sister-in-law. Both were restating what they had originally spoken to their adult sons.

I think this statement grabbed me to my core, as I thought of how God allows us to freely make our own choices in life and how these choices will either result in pleasing God or the folly of our own flesh. When we choose to go our own way, apart from God’s direction and leading in our lives, we really are saying to God, “I know what’s best for my life and I really don’t need your guidance or authority to rule over me.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it…the first sin in the garden.

Fletcher 2My thoughts quickly race back to our retreat hosts. Although they feel that their son made some wrong choices toward the end of his life, they also know and testify to the unmerited favor of God in their lives. Throughout our week together, they shared how in the midst of heartache over the loss of their son, they are choosing to hold God’s hand as they continue to serve faithfully in the ministry God has called them to. Their unwavering faith and commitment to Christ brings hope, healing, and encouragement to pastors and wives through Life Action Ministries https://lifeaction.org/. For more information about The Lodge, please go to: http://www.retreatatthelodge.org/.

Holding His Hand

In the deepest despairs of life, God is near. His promises are true. If you are overtaken with grief and sorrow over the loss of a loved one, I encourage you to cry out to Jesus. The Psalmist declares: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18).

For those wrestling with decisions, please consider the words of the Apostle Paul.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:7-10).

Don’t Fret!

Me & Mom
Me & Mom

“Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them” (Psalm 17:10).

Don’t fret! Right, easier said than done. When facing a difficult situation, I tend to fret (worry or feel anxious). This is often my first reaction when fear sneaks in. Then as I recall God’s faithfulness, I gradually start to relax and peace comes.

Lying in my bed as a young child, I cried out in deep sorrow. I missed my mother, who passed away when I was seven. No one saw my tears in the dark of the night, I thought. That is until I mysteriously sensed a loving hand reach down and hold me close. This is the best way to describe my first realization of God. I continue to miss my mom, but I now recognize my Heavenly Father who faithfully comforts me with His loving presence.

Trusting the unseen hand of God “in the dark of the night” requires a steadfast faith in God’s goodness and an unquenchable desire for the Word of God.

Holding His Hand

“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” – Timothy Keller’s book: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.

I have found that journaling helps me recall God’s faithfulness in my life. Whenever I face a difficult situation, I’ll pick up one of my journals and read how God has been faithful over and over again throughout the years.

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